Thursday, June 8 2023 Sign In   |    Register

News Quick Search



Front Page
Power News
Today's News
Yesterday's News
Week of Jun 05
Week of May 29
Week of May 22
Week of May 15
Week of May 08
By Topic
By News Partner
Gas News
News Customization


Pro Plus(+)

Add on products to your professional subscription.
  • Energy Archive News

    Home > News > Power News > News Article

    Share by Email E-mail Printer Friendly Print

    ComEd 4 trial highlights

    March 22, 2023 - The Capitol Fax Blog


      * Crain’s on some overlooked testimony yesterday by ComEd exec Scott Vogt

      The 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act is best remembered for the bailout of two nuclear power plants, which funneled more than $230 million of revenue annually to Exelon thanks to surcharges on monthly electric bills statewide.

      That was just one portion of a heaping plate of revenue. While most of the focus — and controversy at the time — was on the nuke subsidies, the value of that law to Exelon’s utility subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison, was an estimated $1.8 billion. […]

      But what likely accounts for the surprisingly lucrative aspect of FEJA for ComEd is that it was allowed for the first time to profit on its investments in energy efficiency — programs designed to help households and businesses use less power. Those programs existed before FEJA, but the charges to ratepayers were mere pass-throughs and included no profit kickers. […]

      Asked to react, ComEd spokesman Paul Elsberg declined to discuss the $1.8 billion estimate. But, he said, “Without commenting on specific witness testimony, the bottom line is that FEJA provided substantial benefits to customers served by all electric utilities across Illinois, including by significantly expanding energy efficiency programs that have saved ComEd customers more than $7 billion on their electric bills, preserving nuclear plants that provide 24/7 carbon-free energy and the thousands of jobs associated with them, spurring new investment in renewable energy projects, and funding programs that train workers for clean energy jobs.”

      * Hannah Meisel on the 2011 Smart Grid law

      But the utility’s fortunes really turned with the passage of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act in 2011 – another of the laws central to the government’s theory of ComEd’s alleged bribery scheme. Included in that law, also known as “Smart Grid” legislation, was an overhaul of the way consumer electric rates were calculated. The new process, known as formula ratemaking, created a new tool for ComEd to recoup what it said was the true cost of running and improving electric service for its customers in northern Illinois. […]

      However, the 2011 law included a provision that automatically “sunset” the formula rates a few years after they first took effect, necessitating ComEd to go back to the General Assembly to ask for the renewal of formula rates.

      Toward the end of Vogt’s lengthy testimony on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Schwartz asked Vogt “what control” the sunset provision gave Madigan “over ComEd’s financial future.”

      “A fair amount,” Vogt said.

      He loved sunsets more than any southwest Florida resident.

      * We talked yesterday about the Senate Democrats’ 2018 TV ads that pushed legislative leader term limits and mentioned Madigan by name. The Sun-Times has the full exchange, but here’s a telling excerpt where Madigan is mulling what he’s going to say to then Senate President John Cullerton

      MADIGAN: And number three, John, do you understand the position you’ve put me in? In terms of do I do something or do I do nothing. So, do I just do nothing about this or do I do something about it?

      You did not want to be on the receiving end of that sort of message. Whew.

      * Speaking of which, here’s the Tribune

      Illinois state Rep. Bob Rita told jurors in the “ComEd Four” bribery trial Monday that former House Speaker Michael Madigan for years had “total control” of the state General Assembly and ruled his fellow Democrats “through fear and intimidation.” […]

      Rita also said Madigan was “very good at raising money,” and that his control of the purse strings come election time made members dependent upon his support for their political survival.

      Rita said Madigan valued “loyalty to himself, to the caucus, to the party” above all else. He said he counted himself as among Madigan’s loyal supporters in the 18 years they served in the House together.

      Asked how Madigan typically exercised his power, Rita paused for a second before saying flatly, “Through fear and intimidation.”

      * Hannah Meisel

      And when asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Streicker if he’d personally experienced that aggressive tactic, Rita responded, “yes.”

      If anyone gets angry at Rep. Rita for saying what he said, they must’ve either forgotten that Madigan wanted people to fear him, or they were part of his mechanism. It’s just how things were done. Nobody ever denied it. He deliberately cultivated the image.

      * Jon Seidel

      Federal prosecutors planned to have Rita testify about McClain’s role in the gaming legislation. They alleged in a court filing that Rita met with the speaker in his office in 2013, where Madigan told Rita that Rita would sponsor a major gaming bill. When the meeting ended, Madigan walked Rita out of his office and McClain was standing near the doorway.

      Madigan pointed to McClain and said “he will guide you,” according to the feds.

      U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber barred prosecutors Monday from getting into the topic of gaming at the request of defense attorneys, though. Rita is also likely to testify about the influence that McClain — a ComEd lobbyist —Â had on the passage of another bill Rita sponsored: the Future Energy Jobs Act, or FEJA.

      FEJA is one of the key pieces of legislation at issue in the trial.

      Rita did testify about the “he will guide you” quote today, without mentioning the gaming connection.

      * Today on FEJA…

      Rita says he grew "frustrated" that he wasn't more involved in more meetings about the legislation, which were being run by Heather Wier Vaught. "I was looking forwqrd to being more involved in the process."

      Jason Meisner (@jmetr22b) March 21, 2023

      Rita also told jurors, "I knew Mike [McClain] wouldn't give me bad advice, or have me do something that was not in line with Speaker Madigan."

      Jon Seidel (@SeidelContent) March 21, 2023

      Cotter asks about Rita's conversations with McClain, during which McClain called Madigan "our friend."

      Cotter asks whether they were "ever talking about crime? Was he and you talking about committing crimes?"

      "No," Rita says.

      Jon Seidel (@SeidelContent) March 21, 2023

      * Speaking of “our friend,” this is from a federal transcript introduced yesterday where McClain is explaining why he refers to Madigan that way

      I generally never refer to the speaker. I just say our friend. […]

      —its uh, it’s just more, it’s easier because um, um I’ll never forget there’s one time one of the ComEd people were at a coffee shop, and it was the Speaker this, and the Speaker that, and the Speaker this, the Speaker that and the, right next to her at the table was Tiffany Madigan. […]

      And so suffice it to say, about two weeks later she was no longer working for ComEd. […]

      (Laughs.) And so um, the um, so if you just say our friend, no one really knows what we’re talking about so. So, uh that’s the way I’m gonna talk, if that’s okay?

      …Adding… Ken Dunkin was mentioned in the trial yesterday as an example of Madigan’s power. Dunkin was again a topic today during cross-examination…

      The Madigan-led Democratic Party of Illinois successfully ran a candidate against Dunkin.

      "And that's politics. That's politics, isn't it sir," Cotter asks.

      Rita: "yes."

      Jon Seidel (@SeidelContent) March 21, 2023

      The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, "Newstex Authoritative Content") are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an "AS IS" basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.


    Other Articles - Utility Business / General


       Home  -  Feedback  -  Contact Us  -  Safe Sender  -  About Energy Central   
    Copyright © 1996-2023 by CyberTech, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Energy Central® and Energy Central Professional® are registered trademarks of CyberTech, Incorporated. Data and information is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended for trading purposes. CyberTech does not warrant that the information or services of Energy Central will meet any specific requirements; nor will it be error free or uninterrupted; nor shall CyberTech be liable for any indirect, incidental or consequential damages (including lost data, information or profits) sustained or incurred in connection with the use of, operation of, or inability to use Energy Central. Other terms of use may apply. Membership information is confidential and subject to our privacy agreement.