Illinois — Residents of Illinois should soon start paying less for their electricity and natural gas. The Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates public utilities, has ordered 22 companies to reduce their rates or show why they shouldn’t have to.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the reason is simple, the amount they charge customers includes federal taxes, and the new tax bill dropped corporate rates from 35 to 21 percent.
In one of the two cases, Nicor Gas wants to raise rates by $130 million. But Madigan says the request should be reduced by $37 million, or about 28 percent. She wants to make sure utilities serving Illinois drop their rates, and pass the savings on to customers, as soon as possible.
“It is only appropriate that public utilities pass along savings attributable to the changes in the federal tax law to their customers,” said ICC Chairman Brien J. Sheahan. “ComEd and Ameren have already sought Commission approval to accelerate the refund through formula rates. The orders we issued today prompt other utilities to immediately estimate and account for any over-collection resulting from decreased taxes. The Commission is committed to working with the utilities to get new, lower rates into effect without delay.”
The Commission’s orders initiate proceedings against a total of 22 companies. Each company will have 30 days to either file revised tariffs decreasing customer rates to reflect their net savings as a result of the federal corporate income tax law or demonstrate why the company shouldn’t be required to make such a filing. In some instances, rate impacts might best be addressed in an ongoing rate case, or in another docketed proceeding. Commission staff will work with the companies and other stakeholders to determine the rate impact and the appropriate procedure to use for each company. Regardless of how the rate impact is addressed, the initiating orders require each public utility to immediately start setting aside their estimated net tax savings. This money will be used to fund any refunds that the Commission might ultimately order.
About the Illinois Commerce Commission
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is a quasi-judicial body made up of five Commissioners. Through its Public Utility Program, the Commission oversees the provision of adequate, reliable, efficient and safe utility services at the least possible cost to Illinois citizens served by electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water and sewer public utility companies. Through its Transportation Regulatory Program, the Commission oversees public safety and consumer protection programs with regard to intrastate commercial motor carriers of general freight, household goods movers, relocation towers, safety towers, personal property warehouses and repossession agencies. The Commission’s Rail Safety Program also inspects and regulates the general safety of railroad tracks, facilities and equipment in the state.
To learn more about the Commission, its offices and bureaus, click here. If you are a consumer who needs help resolving a utility dispute call 800-524-0795 or file an online complaint here. For a complaint related to transportation, call 217-782-6448.
Cover photo: http://www.afcec.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/871478/utility-rate-team-completes-8-year-study-finds-millions-in-potential-cost-savin/