ICC Orders Revised Grid Plan Filings for ComEd and Ameren, Recognizing the 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act

December 14, 2023

Karsten Neumeister, Environmental Law & Policy Center, 224-659-0898, kneumeister@elpc.org
Megy Karydes, Union of Concerned Scientists, 312-560-2715, megy@karydesconsulting.com
Lycia Ortega, Vote Solar, 928-750-0581, lortega@votesolar.org 

ICC Orders Revised Grid Plan Filings for ComEd and Ameren, Recognizing the 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act 

Chicago, IL — Today, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) announced its decisions on the Multi-Year Integrated Grid and Rate Plans of both Ameren Illinois Company (Ameren) and Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). The ICC rejected the plans from both utilities, citing deficiencies in meeting standards such as transparency, demonstrated equity, affordability, and the ability to meet the state’s clean energy goals. The ICC ordered both utilities to resubmit their grid plans within three (3) months.

This announcement comes on the heels of the 2021 Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which fundamentally reshaped the utility regulatory landscape. CEJA requires investor-owned utilities like Ameren and ComEd to submit proposals for building out a clean and equitable grid. As part of the regulatory process, the utilities’ plans must undergo careful scrutiny by the Commission, which holds them accountable for balancing equity, clean energy deployment, and rate affordability. 

Many groups, including nonprofits, advocacy organizations, and industry representatives throughout the state intervened in these plans to participate in the regulatory process and scrutinize how Ameren and ComEd expect to spend on the grid. This group is collectively called the Joint Non-Governmental Organizations (JNGO) and consists of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Vote Solar. 

“We appreciate the Commission’s leadership in guiding Illinois’ clean energy transition,” said Brad Klein, Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Today’s decision is a bold order that holds us all accountable in ensuring that utility investments are cost-effective, transparent, and equitable for all. We’re excited to see how seriously the Commission is taking CEJA and accelerating new opportunities for customers to benefit from solar and other clean energy investments. We are looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and filling in the gaps the Commission identified.”

“We are pleased the Commission directed ComEd and Ameren to incorporate an equity reporting framework such as the one developed by our expert witnesses and ICC staff,” said James Gignac, Midwest Senior Policy Manager with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “As utilities work to modernize the electric grid and integrate clean energy resources, we must ensure that benefits are flowing to communities most in need. Today’s order means ComEd and Ameren must be more transparent and accountable in assessing whether their investments are producing positive outcomes for low-income and environmental justice communities.”

“During the course of the proceeding, we questioned the cost-effectiveness and completeness of the utilities’ proposal on several important issues, including actions to facilitate and integrate Distributed Energy Resources, such as rooftop solar. In many cases, the utilities agreed to workshop or follow-on processes that would have addressed those shortcomings.  But the Commission has sent a clear message: promises of future improvements are not enough. They want action to address the shortcoming before they will approve the plans. Our 2024 work plans changed dramatically today; we look forward to engaging with the utilities and stakeholders constructively to address all the issues identified by the Commission in the upcoming proceedings to develop plans that are fully compliant with CEJA,” said Will Kenworthy, Senior Regulatory Director – Midwest of Vote Solar.



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