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A class action lawsuit has been filed against Illinois-based electric utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), alleging that the utility violated an Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) order issued under the state's Smart Grid Act.

According to the Law Offices of Paul G. Neilan PC, the firm that filed the suit, ComEd "agreed to upgrade its grid, improve system reliability, and install smart meters at all consumers' homes and businesses." The ICC had approved rate recovery for these upgrades, and the work was ordered to begin in the fall of 2012. However, ComEd "unilaterally pushed back deployment until 2015."

In 2011, ComEd filed for a formula rate increase of $1.915 billion with the ICC. When the ICC reduced that amount by $168 million, ComEd allegedly ignored the ICC smart meter order and said it would delay installation of smart meters by about two and a half years. Customers are currently paying for the smart meters, even though none has been installed.

"ComEd has pulled off the biggest bait-and-switch in Illinois history," says Neilan. "ComEd sold this legislation on the benefits of smart meters, and customers have already started paying for them. But then ComEd took the law into its own hands and willfully defied an order of the Illinois Commerce Commission. No one will so much as see a smart meter until 2015."

ComEd's original plan included the installation of 500,000 new meters on Chicago's south and west sides by 2013. The smart meters would have provided ComEd customers with $182 million in savings and other benefits if implemented on the ICC order's original schedule.

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