|[April 05, 2013]
$182 Million Class Action Lawsuit Filed against ComEd for Violation of ICC Order by the Law Offices of Paul G. Neilan, P.C.
CHICAGO --(Business Wire)--
In a class action lawsuit filed Thursday, April 4, 2013 in Cook County,
the Law Offices of Paul G. Neilan, P.C., on behalf of the plaintiffs,
say Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon Company (ComEd NYSE: EXC), violated
an Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) order issued under Illinois' Smart
Grid Act. In exchange for annual formula rate increases, ComEd agreed to
upgrade its grid, improve system reliability and install smart meters at
all consumers' homes and businesses. Though the ICC ordered ComEd to
begin smart meter installation by fall 2012, the company unilaterally
pushed back deployment until 2015.
To cover the Smart Grid upgrades, in 2011 ComEd filed for a formula rate
increase of $1.915 billion with the ICC. When the ICC reduced that
amount by $168 million, ComEd allegedly ignored the ICC smart meter
order and said it would delay installation of smart meters by about two
and a half years. Customers are currently paying for the smart meters,
even though none have been installed.
ComEd's original smart meter plan included the installation of 500,000
new smart meters on Chicago's South and West sides by 2013. The smart
meters would have provided ComEd customers with $182 million in savings
and other benefits if implemented on the ICC order's original schedule.
Customer benefits include quicker response times to outages and the
ability to participate in energy saving programs.
"ComEd has pulled off the biggest bait-and-switch in Illinois history,"
said Chicago energy attorney Paul G. Neilan, who brought the suit.
"ComEd sold this legislation on the benefits of smart meters, and
customers have already started paying for them. But then ComEd took the
law into its own hands and willfully defied an order of the Illinois
Commerce Commission. No one will so much as see a smart meter until
In addition, ComEd has been pushing Senate Bill 9 through the General
Assembly. The legislation contains provisions purporting to release
ComEd from its violation of the ICC's original order.
"Senate Bill 9 is a stealth statute because buried deep in the bill is
language that attempts to re-write history and erase ComEd's violation
of the ICC's order," says Neilan. "That provision is invalid on its
face. It's also equivalent to a signed confession. Customers also need
to know that ComEd/Exelon gave more than $192,000 in campaign
contributions to the legislative sponsors of Senate Bill 9. That's about
one tenth of one percent of the $182 million in damages ComEd inflicted
Championed by former Mayor Daley, Chicago has worked hard to be known as
one of the most environmentally friendly and largest users of green
energy in the U.S. with its roof top gardens, recycling programs, LEED
certified buildings, and green construction and development. It has won
numerous international awards for its green agenda and even offers a
city-sponsored "Green Office Challenge." "Smart meters are a crucial
part of that mission," Neilan said. "ComEd's move will slow Chicago's
progress in energy efficiency and reduced emissions, and more
importantly in benefits to customers."
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