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Demand rates symptom of bigger problem: lack of energy policy

ComEd has asked Illinois legislators to approve an extreme change in the way it charges customers for electricity service. The proposal would force Illinois households to become among the first in the nation to pay unpredictable rates called “demand charges.”

I spent over seven years as the advocate for electricity consumers in Nevada before President Barack Obama appointed me to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I recently joined the rooftop solar industry because of its enormous potential to make the electricity system cleaner, stronger and more affordable for the people, who have been left out of electricity policy and electric markets.

What are demand charges? Demand charges mean your utility can charge you in any one month for how many appliances are on at any one instant in your house. And it doesn’t matter if you know they are on or can’t control whether they are on or off (like the defrost cycle of your refrigerator). SB 1585 would make Illinois the only state to mandate demand charges on all Illinois homeowners, with steep electricity bill spikes for those who happen to use too many electric appliances at the same time…Please click here to read Jon Wellinghoff’s opinion piece in Crain’s Chicago Business. A related story, “Bill Would Drastically Change Way ComEd Charges Customers,” is here.

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