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Ratemaster Richie

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To the editors:

I enjoyed reading Harold Henderson's article on the controversial Commonwealth Edison rate-freeze proposal (April 10). It was an interesting, well-balanced piece, providing your readers with the opportunity to hear arguments on each side of this important issue.

As an aside, Henderson wondered aloud why Edison officials initially approached the state's attorney's office, rather than the city of Chicago, in offering the proposal to governmental officials.

State's Attorney Daley's participation was actually quite appropriate when one considers his strong record of involvement in utility matters on behalf of consumers.

Highlights of Daley's record include:

fighting every utility rate hike since 1980, including the $494 million increase granted to Edison in 1985 and subsequently overturned by the Cook County Circuit Court.

opposing the corporate reorganization of Peoples Energy Corp. as being disadvantageous to consumers.

working with the Chicago City Council to forestall a 1984 scheme by Peoples Gas to earn windfall profits from an industrial revenue bond issue, with the result that $2.5 million was obtained from that utility for assistance to disconnected customers.

successfully lobbying with other agencies for important revisions of the Public Utilities Act in 1985.

acting as legal counsel to the County of Cook in its new program of buying natural gas directly from the producers, which is expected to result in an annual savings to taxpayers of $1 million.

the current fight for a $33-million rate reduction on behalf of Illinois Bell customers, based on economic changes advantageous to that utility since its 1984 divestiture from AT&T.

Saving the taxpayers another $500,000 by renegotiating the county's contract with AT&T following the divestiture.

successfully championing energy conservation programs, operated and funded by the utilities themselves, as a means for individual gas and electric customers to lower their bills.

Given these and other accomplishments on behalf of utility consumers throughout the Chicago area, it is not surprising that Edison considered Daley's involvement necessary to the achievement of the unprecedented rate-freeze proposal now under review by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Terry Levin
Press Secretary
State's Attorney's Office

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