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Updated: Illinois Commission Directs Retail Suppliers To Report On If, How They Will Issue Refunds To Customers From FERC Transmission Cost Settlement

December 5, 2018

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Copyright 2010-17
Reporting by Paul Ring •

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Note: This story was first published on Dec. 5 with an alert to our email subscribers

The Illinois Commerce Commission has issued a written order directing retail electric suppliers to respond to data requests concerning the retail electric suppliers' plans to distribute Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-ordered settlement proceeds to end-user customers in the Commonwealth Edison service territory. was first to report on December 5 that the ICC voted to open a proceeding examining whether and/or how retail suppliers were providing to customers proceedings from a settlement which reduces the regional transmission expansion plan costs previously assigned to LSEs at ComEd

In its written order, the ICC said that in a Staff Report dated November 30, 2018, the Staff of the Consumer Services Division (CSD) and the Office of Retail Market Development (ORMD) noted that on May 31, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order on a Contested Settlement for FERC Docket No. EL05-121-009. The Settlement provides that PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM), the Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) in the Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) service territory in Illinois, would lower certain cost allocations in the ComEd territory for a specified period, which would have the effect of reducing transmission rates payable by Load Serving Entities (LSE) in the ComEd service territory by an aggregate amount of approximately $318 million during that period. The expectation of the settling parties was that this sum would be refunded to end-user customers in the form of reductions to their rates.

For customers taking bundled electric supply service from ComEd, the PJM credit will be reflected primarily through a reduced transmission service charge during the October 2018 through May 2019 billing periods. ComEd will also pass on a portion of the PJM credit through the Purchased Electricity Adjustment (PEA). Both of these rate elements are reflected in the supply charges, as opposed to distribution charges, on customer bills. However, retail customers receiving electric supply service from Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES) do not pay ComEd’s transmission charges or the PEA

Accordingly, CSD and ORMD Staff recommended that the Commission enter an Order directing all ARES serving customers in the ComEd service territory to provide responses to a Data Request Staff has prepared to obtain information regarding whether and how the PJM credits will affect the rates paid by ARES supply customers. The Data Request seeks, in summary, information regarding the dollar amounts individual ARES were or will be credited; the dollar amount, if any, individual ARES will credit to ComEd service territory customers; which if any customers receive a credit, how any such credit is or will be calculated and how any such credit is reflected or disclosed on customer bills.

"The Commission finds that the information in the Staff Report provides a sufficient basis to direct ARES serving customers in ComEd’s service territory to submit the requested information. Under Section 16-115(d)(4), the Commission may require ARES to comply with informational or reporting requirements. The information sought by Staff in the Data Request appears to the Commission to be reasonable and not burdensome to produce. The Commission understands the Settlement to have been concluded to refund to customers in ComEd service territory payments made through transmission tariffs by those customers for transmission investments that solely benefitted customers located in the far eastern portion of the PJM Interconnection. The Commission understands that the Settlement will be implemented by temporarily reducing transmission tariff rates paid by LSEs, including ARES. Accordingly, the Commission directs ARES serving customers in ComEd’s service territory to provide responses to the Staff Data Request on or prior to January 18, 2019," the ICC said in the order

"The Commission is cognizant of the fact that it does not regulate rates charged by ARES, and is not seeking to do so here. Nonetheless, as a party to the Settlement, the Commission has an interest in determining the extent to which savings realized through the Settlement are reaching the customers in the ComEd service territory who were intended to benefit from the Settlement," the ICC said in the order

"The Commission is also cognizant that, in responding to the Data Requests, ARES may be required to produce information they deem to be confidential, proprietary or competitively sensitive. If this proves to be the case, the Commission authorizes ARES to submit such information as is confidential, proprietary or competitively sensitive subject to confidential treatment under Sections 4-404 and 5-108 of the Act," the ICC said in the order

Among the data requests issued by the ICC to retail suppliers were:

• Please state the total dollar amount that your company estimates that it has received or will receive or be credited as a result of the Settlement.

• Of the amount your company received or will be credited as a result of the Settlement, please state the dollar amount your company has credited or intends to credit to end user customers served by your company in the ComEd service territory.

• Please state the number of customers in each ComEd rate class in the ComEd service territory your company has issued, or intends to issue a credit, how the credit will be calculated for each rate class, and the total amount credited to each rate class.

• Please describe the manner in which any such customer credits will be issued. If credits will be issued over a period of time, please provide details

• Please describe the manner in which any such customer credits will appear on customer bills, and provide a sample customer bill or bill mock-up displaying how the credit will appear.

• In the event that your company does not credit amounts that your company received or will be credited as a result of the Settlement to customers in the ComEd service territory, please describe in detail how such amounts will be expended or allocated. If such sums will be expended as credits to customers in any service territory other than the ComEd service territory, please identify each such service territory.

• Please state whether your company will provide an explanation regarding the Settlement to customers, and if it will, the manner in which such explanation will be communicated?

Docket 18-1774

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