Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

6 Loy. Consumer L. Rep. 37 (1993-1994)


In 1993 Commonwealth Edison, Illinois’s largest electric utility agreed to pay its customers $1.3 billion, the biggest refund issued by a utility in United States history, and to reduce its electricity rates by $339 million per year. This refund and rate reduction settled a decade-long series of cases with consumer advocates over the billions of dollars Edison spent constructing five nuclear power plants. The litigation not only offered relief to Edison customers, who paid some of the highest rates in the country. It dramatically changed Illinois law, giving public utility companies strong incentive to generate electricity through less costly and more environmentally friendly options. The article summarizes the most significant cases in the litigation, their key holdings and their possible future implications. These include: 1) Byron 1, which established the responsibility of utility companies to pay for unreasonable power plant construction costs. 2) La Salle 1, which forced companies to bear the cost consequences of poor power plant performance. 3) Bryon 2 and Braidwood, which barred utilities companies from making deals with the state Commerce Commission on rates without undergoing a public hearing. 4) Bryon and Braidwood, which barred companies from raising rates to recover costs from building excess power generating capacity, made them fully refund overcharges and established the equitable power of reviewing courts to set fair refund terms.


Reprinted with permission of Loyola Consumer Law Review.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.