Statement: New indictments reinforce need to address public policy harm caused by corrupt ComEd scheme

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

State Director, Illinois PIRG; Energy and Utilities Program Director, PIRG

Illinois PIRG

Former Commonwealth Edison CEO Anne Pramaggiore and three others were indicted on multiple charges Wednesday as part of the ongoing federal investigation into ComEd’s corrupt scheme to win favorable legislation. 

The indictment mentions issues with three pieces of legislation passed in the past decade:  the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) and 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, both of which were referenced in the July deferred prosecution agreement, and 2013 legislation wherein the Illinois General Assembly overturned decisions made by the Illinois Commerce Commission. This 2013 legislation has led to hundreds of millions of additional profits for ComEd through accounting changes alone. 

In response, Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr made the following statement:

“Today’s indictment reinforces the need for Illinois policymakers to act to address the harm inflicted on ComEd’s customers and the public through ComEd’s maneuvers. While federal prosecutors may deliver a legal remedy for ComEd’s actions, bad public policies enacted in-part through ComEd’s scheme remain.

“The 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, followed by a trailer bill in 2013, radically changed utility regulation in Illinois, guaranteeing utility profits through so-called “formula” rate making, and reducing the Illinois Commerce Commission to a rubber stamp for company profits. Through EIMA and follow-up legislation, ComEd’s annual authorized profits grew by 47 percent between 2011 to 2019, when they reached more than $739 million. The accounting changes enacted through the 2013 trailer bill alone have so far delivered ComEd a financial windfall of more than $400 million.

“We renew our call to the Illinois General Assembly to right the wrongs of the past decade. Our elected lawmakers should revoke formula rates; order a thorough and independent audit of ComEd’s capital investments made since EIMA’s passage; reduce utilities’ ability to influence public policy through political contributions, lobbying and rate-payer- funded charitable giving; and address the damaging conflicts of interest inherent to Exelon’s ownership of ComEd.”