The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

22% electric rate increase ahead

Oct 30, 2006

ComEd, which supplies electricity to the Chicago area, wants to charge consumers 22% more starting in January. When an uproar developed, ComEd latched onto a game that’s become quite popular with steel companies and airlines: it threatened bankruptcy if it didn’t get its rate increase.

ComEd is owned by Exelon, which had a 2.1 billion-dollar profit last year. It was the most profitable electric utility in the country. Its rate of profit on its stockholders’ investment was 21%, double the national average. Exelon’s CEO, John W. Rowe, got 27 million dollars in pay last year, and the top five executives together got 47 million dollars.

Is this kind of bankruptcy legal for everyone?