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updated: 12/18/2013 8:38 PM

ComEd wins rate hike, consumers to pay more for delivery of power

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ComEd will be allowed to hike delivery rates starting in January after regulators Wednesday approved $340 million more in revenue for the utility.

The Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates ComEd, issued an order Wednesday that allowed for the increase to support its modernization of the electric grid and improvements to the system.

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The increase is about $5.50 per month more for the average residential customer bill, said ComEd spokesman David O'Dowd.

While the increase applies to the delivery rates, O'Dowd said that customers' electric bills have "declined since 2012 because of low energy prices overall, making now the right time to invest in our critical electric infrastructure."

In 2011, the General Assembly passed the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, which allowed for greater predictability in determining the rates required to support ComEd's investments in modernizing the grid, deploying 4 million smart meters and maintaining the overall system to improve reliability and reduce outages, O'Dowd said.

ComEd proposed its updated rates in April for about $311 million in additional annual revenue from about 3.8 million electric distribution customers in 24 counties in northern Illinois, ICC spokeswoman Beth Bosch said.

In May, Public Act 98-0015 amended the formula rate law, which had the effect of increasing ComEd's rate request to $359 million. Of that revised request, the ICC approved about $340 million in new revenue on Wednesday.

The ICC order shows adjustments to the company's original proposal, including reductions to employee incentive compensation costs and rate case expense that the ICC determined did not fully benefit ratepayers, Bosch said.

The law allows participating utilities that agree to make specified investments in electric reliability projects and a smart grid to recover their costs annually under a prescribed formula rate to provide a more certain and timely cost recovery mechanism for all of their investments and expenses.

ComEd filed its initial formula rate petition in November 2011. ComEd's first update to its formula rates was filed in April 2012, which adjusted rates for 2013.

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