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Today’s number: $16.2 million

Monday, Dec 17, 2012

* From Crain’s

Commonwealth Edison Co. spent big — very big — to win passage last year of its controversial “smart grid” law. The act permits the electric utility to raise its rates annually via a formula as it pursues a 10-year, $2.6 billion grid modernization program featuring smart meters in every home and business.

ComEd may be back in Springfield, lobbying lawmakers to force state utility regulators to interpret the law more favorably to the utility and boost its revenue further.

* And the accompanying chart

Ameren’s expenses were $3.4 million.

Keep in mind that lobbying expenses are not directly financed by ratepayers.

* Related…

* Cable TV, satellite TV industries embroiled in fight over fees

* Illinois rings up $1M from video gambling in November

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - just sayin' - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 10:49 am:

    “Keep in mind that lobbying expenses are not directly financed by ratepayers.”

    Yes I know that’s what ComEd says, but come on. It all comes out of the same pot. It’s money that could be spent on something productive or reducing rate hikes.

  2. - Judgment Day - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:04 am:

    IMO, the satellite TV providers have a legit beef toward the cable companies on the taxation issue. The cable companies using a grid style system, while the satellite TV folks are basically point-to-point service providers.

    The grid style service providers have a direct effect on local governments, because they are digging and stringing cables. There’s a cost incurred by local governments for all of that, so there should be charge backs in the form of taxes.

    Satellite TV does not have the same set of issues. They only affect the property they are being contracted to provide services to.

    From a purely technical standpoint, it looks to be a slam dunk in favor of the satellite TV providers.

    The truth of the matter is that the cable companies have been avoiding extending broadband services into many rural areas because of the expense. So now they want to make it more expensive for the satellite TV providers, who in many cases are the only practical provider option. Which means that people’s bills will go up.

  3. - reformer - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    Do the millions in ComEd campaign donations have any influence on policy? I presume ComEd believes they do or else why spend the money? Of course legislators piously deny any influence, insisting they are immune to the lure of campaign cash.

  4. - Abe the Babe - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    The best regulations that money can buy.

  5. - Dave V - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    Lets not forget, there is still money left over for hiring former legislators.

  6. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    The piece speaks for itself. Wow.

  7. - Small Town Liberal - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:03 pm:

    Ridiculous. If utility law wasn’t so complicated the public would revolt at what these companies are doing.

    What it comes down to, regardless of how they spin it, these companies want more money to flow into their shareholders pockets, under the guise of it flowing into their infrastructure.

    They spent all that money getting the bill passed to modernize the grid, but now they’re upset that the ICC still won’t let them recover enough costs that have nothing to do with that modernization.

    If the clowns running these companies spent a fraction of the effort they waste fighting with the ICC on actually building up the grid, we’d have the cadillac of electric grids by now.

  8. - Dave V - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:04 pm:

    Before I get yelled at, I know contracts would be included. But the promise of a job after your term is up (or before) can be a pretty convincing reason to vote a certain way.

  9. - SportShoz - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    The icing is that with their new formula rates it will make it easier for ComEd to recoup lobbying expenses, on top of getting all their executive bonuses, charitable contributions and lawyer fees covered by their ratepayers. All under the guise of “modernizing” and creating “jobs,” a $2.6 Billion rate hike for only $16.2 million.

  10. - dang - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 2:11 pm:

    Re-Com Ed. That number might be comical if it wasn’t so dang sad. You smell that? That’s this country rotting from the inside out.

  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 5:32 pm:

    What other sources of revenue, other than ratepayers, does ComEd have?

  12. - walkinfool - Monday, Dec 17, 12 @ 5:39 pm:

    The difference between a big potential campaign contributor and any other interested party, for some legislators, is that they will meet and listen more closely to the arguments of one before other. That access may not always change a vote, but it can provide a better chance.

    The best reps make it a point to provide plenty of access and to listen closely to those without campaign contributions.

  13. - Sideliner - Tuesday, Dec 18, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    Enough is never enough.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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