CHICAGO - With the cost of gas at its yearly highest and natural gas customers just paying off their historically high heating bills, the news that electricity bills are about to skyrocket will be an unwelcome jolt to Illinois residents.
Commonwealth Edison Co.'s residential rates will rise 20 percent beginning in June as a new charge for electricity reflects rising costs to secure supply during peak-demand periods from power plants, Crain's reports today.
ComEd's new energy charge of 7.596 cents per kilowatt-hour, filed Tuesday with the Illinois Commerce Commission, is 38 percent higher than the 5.52 cents its customers are paying now. Energy makes up about 60 percent of average household's electricity bill, with the remainder ComEd's regulated delivery charge.
According to the ICC's annual report, rate increases granted earlier this year will also contribute to Com Ed's infrastructure updates.
In December 2013, the Commission approved new electric distribution rates for ComEd, effective January 1, 2014, in accordance with the new performance-based formula rate plan or Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act (EIMA). The new rates are expected to produce approximately $340 million in additional annual revenue for the company or about 17 percent more than current revenue. In June, 2013, the Commission issued orders updating electricity delivery rates for ComEd and Ameren Illinois in response to amendments to EIMA (Public Act 98-0015). EIMA allows ComEd and Ameren to recover their investment in the electric system annually using a formula, if they agree to make specific investments aimed at improving reliability and modernizing the electricity grid.
The Commission ordered ComEd to accelerate installation of smart meters, as required in the amended law. The company installed approximately 60,000 new meters in 2013 and will install an additional 160,000 in 2014. The Commission also approved new electric delivery rates for Ameren Illinois in December, although adjustments in its formula rate case resulted in a $45 million reduction.