CHICAGO - A class-action lawsuit has been filed against ComEd in the wake of the bribery scandal involving state government officials.
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court by attorneys at DiCello Levitt Gutzler and Romanucci & Blandin, says customers have been overpaying on their electric bills, and will continue to overpay, as a result of legislation fueled by the bribes.
The surplus amount is $17.2 billion, according to the lawsuit.
"What's happened here, by ComEd's own admission, there's been a gross violation of the public trust," said Adam Levitt of DiCello Levitt Gutzler.
After ComEd admitted to bribing associates of high-level elected officials, Levitt says the resulting $200 million fine was a slap on the wrist compared to the profit they say those bribes generated.
"The total amount of admitted benefit that they have received we have determined through experts is $17.2 billion--with a 'B,'" said co-counsel Stephan Blandin of Romanucci & Blandin.
Levitt and Blandin say the rate hikes resulting from the bribes are already built into the monthly bills of 4.2 million ComEd customers, who they say have been overpaying since 2016 and will continue to overpay for the foreseeable future.
If they win the case, they say it could mean thousands of dollars back into the pockets of each customer.
"If they're paying more than they should be each month, that's unjust," said Levitt. "That's not right and it's money that is theirs."
ComEd released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
"Over the last 10 years, legislation that paved the way for ComEd’s smart grid investments delivered the reliable power that northern Illinois families and businesses expect and prepared the system for extreme weather. These improvements have helped prevent more than 16 million customer interruptions, resulting in $2.7 billion in savings. At the same time, ComEd households pay less than they did nearly a decade ago and enjoy rates lower than customers in comparable U.S. cities. Regulators under three different governors have approved every dollar of ComEd’s investments in lengthy annual proceedings, and any claim that the investments did not benefit customers has no merit."
The case is expected to go to trial in 2022.