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ComEd wants rate hike but says bills will be lower

Updated: June 1, 2013 6:38AM

Commonwealth Edison Co. wants to raise its delivery rate for residential customers about $5 a month beginning next year but says electric bills will be lower than current costs.

The utility company asked Monday for a $311 million revenue increase from its customers, though the Illinois Commerce Commission still must approve the increase.

Despite the request, the average electric bill for a residential customer will fall from about $81 monthly to about $66, beginning in June — thanks to falling energy prices.

If the higher delivery rate is approved, bills will rise in January to an average of about $72 monthly — still about 10 percent below the current rate.

Bills will fall even with the higher delivery charges because power suppliers are producing energy more cheaply, ComEd officials said.

The additional cash is needed so ComEd can improve its power grid, which includes upgrading its distribution system and installing “smart meters.”

“It’s the cost to invest in the grid,” said Tom O’Neill, a ComEd senior vice president, adding the utility expects regulators ultimately will approve the rate request.

“It’s our expectation the bulk of this will go through,” he said.

Adjusted for inflation, ComEd rates are about 23 percent less than they were in 1995, the company said in a statement.

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