Cutting the Bill for Commonwealth Edison's Nuclear Power Plants: Important Gains for Illinois Public Utility Customers
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.
Cutting the Bill for Commonwealth Edison's Nuclear Power Plants: Important Gains for Illinois Public Utility Customers,
6 Loy. Consumer L. Rep. 37 (1993-1994).
Available at: https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/law_faculty_scholarship/109
Reprinted with permission of Loyola Consumer Law Review.