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Illinois AG opposes ComEd's latest rate hike request

Illinois Attorney General LisMadigan has filed an objectiCommonwealth Edison's latest rate-hike request. |  Sun-Times File Photo

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed an objection to Commonwealth Edison's latest rate-hike request. | Sun-Times File Photo

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Updated: August 4, 2014 11:53AM

The Illinois attorney general’s office says ComEd’s plan to use rate hikes to fund an employee incentive program violates state law and should be blocked.

The utility is seeking a rate increase for 2015 that officials said would raise $275 million in additional revenue — and raise the average monthly household bill by $3.

But Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office argued in a filing with the Illinois Commerce Commission Tuesday that amount should be lowered by $106 million, or 39 percent. That includes about $87 million ComEd allegedly plans to use to fund the incentive program tied to Exelon stock, they said.

Cash received through that program represents a portion of ComEd employees’ overall compensation, according to the utility’s earlier filings with the ICC. ComEd resisted calling the extra money a “bonus” when it filed that paperwork in April.

Regardless, the Attorney General’s office said state law bars ComEd from recovering “incentive compensation expense that is based on net income or an affiliate’s earnings per share” through a rate increase.

ComEd spokesman David O’Dowd issued a statement by email later Wednesday: “The law supports employee incentive compensation that is directly tied to customer benefits. ComEd’s incentive program is specifically designed to comply with the statute. Exelon earnings never increase ComEd’s incentive compensation and, in fact, can only reduce its size. Without this limitation in 2013, ComEd customers could have seen another $9 million in rates.”

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