Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois

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The Illinois Commerce Commission granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Rock Island for construction of a high voltage electric transmission line between O’Brien County, Iowa, and a converter station adjacent to Commonwealth Edison Company’s Grundy County, Illinois substation. Rock Island is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wind Line, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Line, which is owned in part by Grid America, a subsidiary of National Grid, which owns and operates more than 8600 miles of high-voltage transmission facilities. Rock Island has never constructed a high voltage transmission line and does not yet own, control, operate, or manage any plants, equipment, or property used or to be used in the transmission of electricity or for any other purpose related to utilities; it has an option to purchase real property in Grundy County. The appellate court reversed, holding that the Commission had no authority under the Public Utilities Act, 220 ILCS 5/1-101, to consider Rock Island’s application because the company did not qualify as a public utility under Illinois law. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Whatever Rock Island’s motives for seeking a certificate of public necessity and convenience, it does not qualify as a public utility; eligibility for a certificate of public convenience and necessity unambiguously requires present ownership, management, or control of defined utility property or equipment. View "Illinois Landowners Alliance, NFP v. Illinois Commerce Commission" on Justia Law

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Zahn is a residential consumer, decided to purchase electricity from North American Power & Gas (NAPG), an alternative retail electric supplier (ARES) under the Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law , 220 ILCS 5/16-102. NAPG sent Zahn a letter stating that she would receive its “New Customer Rate” of $0.0499 per kilowatt-hour during her first month of service and a “market based variable rate” thereafter. NAPG's “Customer Disclosure Statement” indicated a month-to-month term and that “[o]ther than fixed and/or introductory/promotional rates, all rates shall be calculated in response to market pricing, transportation, profit and other market price factors” and that its prices were “variable” based on “market prices for commodity, transportation, balancing fees, storage charges, [NAPG] fees, profit, [and] line losses ... may be higher or lower than your [local public utility].” Zahn never received the $0.0499 per kilowatt-hour rate. During her first two months of service, NAPG charged her $0.0599 per kilowatt-hour. Thereafter, the rate it charged her was always higher than what she would have paid her local public utility. Zahn filed a class action, alleging Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act violations (815 ILCS 505/1), breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Zahn appealed dismissal of the case to the Seventh Circuit, which certified a question of Illinois law: Does the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) have exclusive jurisdiction over a reparation claim, as defined in precedent in Sheffler v. Commonwealth Edison, brought by a residential consumer against an ARES? The Illinois Supreme Court responded that the ICC does not have exclusive original jurisdiction over such claims. The claims may be pursued through the courts. View "Zahn v. North American Power & Gas, LLC" on Justia Law

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FutureGen was created to research and develop near-zero emissions coal technology and sought to use carbon capture and storage to develop the world’s first near-zero emissions coal power plant. The proposed retrofitted “clean coal” electric energy generating facility, known as “FutureGen 2.0,” was to be located in Meredosia, Illinois, and scheduled to begin operating in 2017. To secure private investment for FutureGen 2.0, the Illinois Commerce Commission issued an order finding that it has the authority to force public utility companies and smaller, privately owned and competitively operated Area Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES) to purchase all of FutureGen 2.0’s electrical output over a 20-year term. The appellate court affirmed the order. In 2015, while appeal was pending, the U.S. Department of Energy suspended funding for the FutureGen 2.0 project. The FutureGen Alliance board of directors approved a resolution in January 2016 ceasing all FutureGen 2.0 project development efforts and indicated its intention to terminate the sourcing agreements. The Illinois Supreme Court dismissed the appeal as moot, vacating the decision of the appellate court. View "Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Ill. Commerce Comm'n" on Justia Law