A couple of days ago the Chicago Tribune ran an editorial that was supposed to make us all feel sorry for ComEd and their oh-so-difficult-struggles to implement a so-called smart grid. It went on to explain how each time ComEd has tried to raise their rates unchecked or how when ComEd refused to refund consumers’ money that was rightfully theirs, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) got in the way. WOW, what was the ICC thinking…*sarcasm* As many of you know, AARP Illinois (and thousands of our members), the Attorney General, and Governor Quinn have been battling ComEd for quite some time. This is not about SmartGrid. It’s about Rate Hikes. Below is our State Director’s response to the Chicago Tribune story. It hasn’t been printed yet…we’ll be the first to let you know if it is. In the meantime, head on over to our Facebook Page and check out what our fans think ComEd could have done with the 16.2 million dollars they spent lobbying in 2011.
On behalf of our 1.7 million Illinois members, AARP strongly objects to your 12/19 editorial (Put smart grid back on track) and to the slanted, partial view you take on an issue that affects millions of consumers.
Glaringly absent from the editorial was the fact that the law you applaud gives ComEd unchecked powers to raise customer rates for the next 10 years. Or the fact that ComEd spent over $16 million in lobbying to secure enough votes to override the Governor’s veto – a fact Crain’s found newsworthy.
Also glaringly absent is the fact that the rate cut ComEd and your editorial board so bitterly complain about, is based on what the law actually says. The ICC is not overstepping its authority, as you claim – it’s using whatever authority it has left after the law ComEd wrote almost emasculated the state’s regulator.
The so-called benefits of the smart grid remain to be seen. Even former Exelon (ComEd’s parent company) CEO John Rowe did not think it was a smart investment. ComEd would serve consumers much better if it actually worked on fixing its worse-in-the-nation service rating and stopped opposing the $133 million rebate ordered by an administrative law judge.
Smart grid rollout may have been postponed, but one more thing you fail to mention is that consumers will still be paying for it, starting on January 1, 2013.
The ComEd formula rate legislation was controversial because it’s a bad deal for consumers. It is corporate greed at its worse, and AARP along with the Attorney General and other groups will continue to fight it on behalf of consumers.
AARP Illinois State Director