As residential customers prepare to see their electricity bills increase starting June 1, that might not be the end of the hikes, ComEd officials said today.
Customers will see their monthly bill jump from an average of $67 per month to $86 per month beginning next week, and ComEd officials said that another $3 per month could be added in January 2015 for the cost of distribution, if its current case pending before the state is approved.
Also by next May, consumers could see another change after the Illinois Power Authority holds its annual auction on the purchase of power. Whether that will bring another increase is "speculative" at this point, said Thomas S. O'Neill, senior vice president of regulatory and energy policy and general counsel for ComEd.
"No one knows how this will go," O'Neill said.
O'Neill is expecting the rate case involving electrical distribution to be challenged as it winds its way through the process at the Illinois Commerce Commission. O'Neill was joined by ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore and other utility executives at a meeting with the Daily Herald editorial board.
On May 7, residential customers were warned of a 38 percent hike on June 1 for the cost of electricity if their supplier's contract recently was renewed or if they're ComEd customers.
The Illinois Power Authority, which procures the electricity for all power suppliers, had set ComEd's cost per kilowatt hour at 7.59 cents, an increase from 5.52 cents in 2013.
The cost of power is about two-thirds of a consumer's bill.
In addition, ComEd had filed on April 16 for a rate increase for delivery costs via the ICC, which regulates the utility. That process takes about 11 months before a decision is made.
ComEd's proposed delivery service charges could increase by about $3 on the average monthly residential bill starting in January 2015. This is based on a revenue request of about $275 million to recover the cost of investments already made in the system.
"We are expecting challenges to this revenue request," O'Neill said.
So ComEd may not receive the entire $275 million it has requested, he said.
The delivery charges affect all consumers of electricity, regardless of who supplies the power, since the network is owned by ComEd and is used by a other power supply companies.
ComEd said it needs the extra money for its ongoing modernization project for the power grid and other service-enhancing investments across the region.
That April 16 filing was the fourth under the 2011 Smart Grid law that established a performance-based rate model to support modernizing the electric infrastructure serving northern Illinois, the utility said.
The modernization is a 10-year project to transform the electric grid throughout the region.