Following his requests to Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to further investigate reports that Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), Illinois’ largest energy utility company, has been using ratepayer funds to influence policymakers through charitable donations, State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington) introduced legislation, Senate Bill 2028, that amends current law to give the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) greater oversight over public utilities’ charitable giving.
“ComEd donates an average of $7 million a year to nearly 600 community organizations, and it is important that consumers know where their money is being spent,” said Sen. Duffy. “Senate Bill 2028 requires all donations made by a public utility to be disclosed to the ICC and such donations are only permitted if deemed ‘reasonable’ and ‘in the best interest of the ratepayers.’”
In a Feb. 24th Chicago Tribune article, Attorney General Madigan responded to Sen. Duffy’s request for further investigation of ComEd’s charitable activities, saying that “Unfortunately, Illinois law allows ComEd to pass the costs of its charitable donations onto ratepayers. That law should be changed to better protect ratepayers."
“Since discovered in a Feb. 21st Chicago Tribune article that ComEd has legally used ratepayer funds to donate to ‘politically influential organizations,’ it is our responsibility to implement a legislative solution that grants the ICC full authority to oversee and verify that all donations made by a public utility are ‘reasonable’, ‘in the best interest of the consumers,’ and are publicly disclosed on the ICC website,” said Sen. Duffy.
Senator Duffy stresses that his legislation will amend the Public Utilities Act to increase transparency and hold ComEd accountable for their actions.