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A tale of three headlines

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013

* The heds…

* Tribune: ComEd rate hike request would add $6 to monthly bills

* Crain’s: ComEd wants $311 million rate hike in 2014

* Sun-Times: ComEd wants rate hike but says bills will be lower

* The Tribune explains the reasons behind the higher rate

Commonwealth Edison said Monday that it will charge $6 more per month on average to deliver electricity to utility customers beginning in 2014 as a result of higher transmission costs and expenses it has incurred to modernize the electrical grid.

In a filing with the Illinois Commerce Commission Monday — its third under a new formula-based rate making system devised in 2011 — the utility requested $311 million in additional revenue from customers in 2014 for its role in delivering electricity, maintaining electrical lines and improving the electrical grid. That increase would amount to about $5 per month for the average electricity customer and must be approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

* Crain’s breaks down its $311 million number and provides some context

ComEd filed for a $311 million increase in the revenue it receives from ratepayers, a figure that ComEd executives said will be more like $335 million once recently passed legislation by the General Assembly to increase the utility’s revenue becomes law.

Under the controversial 2011 “smart grid” law, enacted over Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto, ComEd is permitted to increase delivery rates annually over a decade to finance a $2.6 billion grid modernization program that includes the installation of “smart meters” in every home and business in northern Illinois.

After the ICC reduced ComEd’s rate hike last year, the utility delayed the planned installation of the meters for what it said were lack of funds. Executives said today that, if the bill just passed becomes law by June 15, the company will begin installing meters in the fourth quarter of this year and aims to install 60,000 in 2013.

Mr. Quinn is expected to veto that bill, but there are sufficient margins in both the state House and Senate to override a veto.

* And the Sun-Times explains its headline

Despite the request, the average electric bill for a residential customer will fall from about $81 monthly to about $66, beginning in June — thanks to falling energy prices.

If the higher delivery rate is approved, bills will rise in January to an average of about $72 monthly — still about 10 percent below the current rate.

Bills will fall even with the higher delivery charges because power suppliers are producing energy more cheaply, ComEd officials said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - foster brooks - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 9:41 am:

    Can we get the trib onboard with electric utility reform?


  2. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    I used to be that newspapers were relatively spinfree zones. Can’t wait for the Koch Brothers to get into the newspaper business.


  3. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    Sorry but what’s wrong with these headlines. All three are accurate. This is a $6+ dollar per month rate increase (there will be others since the cap is 2.5% PER YEAR over ten years. It is a $311 million rate increase. But because of the lower energy costs (for which ComEd can claim no credit), overall bills will still be lower. What’s the problem?

    And BTW, the Trib has editorialized in favor of the so-called Smart-Grid bill, repeatedly. Not sure how much more on-board you’d like them to be. Sorry that they only control the editorial board and not the actual news. Geeez!


  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    ===What’s the problem? ===

    Take a breath, man. It’s just a look at some different headlines. Sheesh.


  5. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    CC: the most important part of your response is “(for which ComEd can take no credit)”. I have never given them credit for much except lining their own pockets and those of their shareholders.
    They’re also very good at having the rate payers pay out right for their improvements and not taking it from their own coffers.


  6. - dang - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 11:25 am:

    Thank you, members of the GA that voted for this bill. Can’t thank you enough for giving com ed and ameren recovery of their costs for smart grid BEFORE all the supposed benefits have been realized. Let’s just trust the electric utilities, I am sure they will do the right thing.


  7. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    RIch,

    My tone was mostly a response to the two previous commenters who suggested that somehow the Trib needs to “get on board” or that there was spin in the headlines.


  8. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 8:18 pm:

    4th hed submitted by run ‘o the mill Illinoisans: “Com Ed wants too much damn money out of our pockets for same level of service–despite all ‘o their bilarney!!!”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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