Com. Ed. customers will receive rebates

By Vickie Snow

Commonwealth Edison customers will receive a total refund of $245 million, the largest rebate ever, as result of action taken in the Cook County Circuit Court against the company’s rate hike for the Byron One nuclear power plant near Rockford.

The Citizens Utility Board and other consumer groups have battled the issue for the past four years.

“Anyone who has been a customer since April 1986” will receive a refund, said Pat Clark, CUB public information assistant. The average refund will be $45, but it is “based on what the customer was actually overcharged.”

The refund is expected in February as a credit on customers’ electric bills.

Approximately three million consumers in northern Illinois will receive refunds as a result of CUB’s efforts, the Office of Public Council and the Business and Professional People for Public Interest, Clark said.

About 10,500 DeKalb residents will be given a refund, said Assistant City Manager Gary Boden. This estimate, however, does not include fraternity/sorority houses or residence halls, which will “be counted as one dwelling unit.”

Since DeKalb apartments experience a high turnover rate, apartment residents will be tracked down in order to be sent the refund, Clark said.

Several months ago, CUB’s actions against Commonwealth Edison resulted in a $190 million refund with the help of the Illinois Commerce Commission, the rate-setting body in Illinois. The recent case of $245 million refund also is expected to be appealed, Clark said.

The rise in refund was issued since “the court ordered the refund should be slightly higher,” Clark said.

In a related case, along with other consumer groups, CUB “is urging the ICC to reject” Commonwealth Edison’s rate hike of $245 million, Clark said.

CUB is a non-profit consumer organization that represents consumers’ interests at the ICC, in the courts and before the Illinois General Assembly, Clark said. CUB has fought rate cases with companies such as Northern Illinois Gas, Illinois Bell and Illinois Power Company.

For more information about CUB’s activities, call the Consumer Hotline at 1-800-222-2822.