Hi Illinois friends! This is Gerardo, from the AARP Illinois Communications Team....
I'm sure you'd agree with me - if somebody owed you some money, you'd want them to pay up as soon as possible. What if that somebody owed you $37 million?
Well, utility giant Commonwealth Edison owes its Northern Illinois customers $37 million dating back to 2007. The State has ordered them to pay, and pay soon. And ComEd is fighting the order in court. Can you believe that?
Why does ComEd owe customers so much money? It turns out they have been inflating the electricity rates they charge. The Illinois Commerce Commission investigated the case, found out about ComEd's scheme and ordered the company to pay back the $37 mill.
ComEd customers haven't caught a break in the rates they pay to the utility conglomerate. Since 2007, ComEd has jacked up its rates by over $400 million. Not only that - last year ComEd got the legislature in Springfield to pass a law that allows them to increase rates, every year, for the next decade!
ComEd is likely to make hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years thanks to the new law, and they refuse to pay back to folks the $37 million they owe them! What's up with that?
Here at AARP we will keep you posted about this court case, and we will continue advocating for utility consumers. These are still very tough economic times for countless folks who see their utility rates go up every month.
And that's why in many towns and villages across Illinois people are going to the polls to change their electricity providers. In 2010, a few towns allowed citizens to decide whether to change electricity providers via referendum. The trend is catching on, and in 2012 voters in nearly 300 municipalities in the state will be able to do the same. Even businesses are beginning to do the same.
Folks, stay tuned and follow updates on this and other issues on our blog. Consumers need and deserve choices!