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ComEd says it is delaying key elements of its grid modernization program following the Illinois Commerce Commission's (ICC) decision yesterday that granted ComEd recovery of the cost of funding its pension, but denied cost recovery on two other issues. The utility plans to appeal the decision in court.

"With this ruling, we have no choice but to delay some elements of the grid modernization rollout, at least until we have an outcome in the courts," says Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd president and CEO. "The adverse rulings on the interest rate and rate base issues significantly impair ComEd's ability to finance long-term investment programs."

Last year, the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, directing electric utilities to invest in the state’s electric infrastructure, improve reliability, create jobs and attract investment to Illinois. ComEd says the law also granted utilities the right to recover the actual costs of investment.

The utility claims the ICC’s ruling is inconsistent with the legislation on two of three issues considered on rehearing.

After the ICC denied ComEd cost recovery on 13 issues in May, the company sought rehearing on all 13 issues. However, ComEd says the ICC agreed to reconsider three issues and reversed its earlier decision on only one.

“Although today’s ruling will allow us to maintain a minimal level of investment of a few core programs, it is insufficient to fully fund our grid modernization efforts,” says Pramaggiore. “While we remain committed to fulfilling the promise of EIMA and intend to meet our obligations under the law, we have to be judicious about making investments if we do not have full cost recovery, as authorized by the legislation.”

ComEd says it must now delay installation of additional smart meters until 2015. Also, some of the basic infrastructure programs will either be delayed or phased in more gradually.

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