Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I hate to say I told you so - a year ago!!!

Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, (C.O.R.E.) is a sham, something Lisa Madigan (Illinois Attorney General) and ABC7 Chicago news investigative reporter Chuck Goudie have just, apparently, come around to finding out...

I even tried to give this story to another major news network in November of last year, but they weren't interested in pursuing it.

But Charlie and Lisa are on the job now.

They uncovered some good new information including that C.O.R.E. registered as a Springfield lobbying entity with one client, ComEd! Chuck doesn't seem to be aware, or didn't report, however, C.O.R.E.'s connection to the Hill and Knowlton Public Relations firm that I outlined in my blog piece.

Chuck's full story below:

Battle over rate increase heats upConsumer interest group 'front group for

By Chuck Goudie

October 18, 2006 - The battle over the ComEd rate increase is heating up. Two top Illinois officials want some answers from ComEd. State Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn are both trying to short-circuit the big rate increase for the electric power utility.

Quinn is asking for emergency hearings into ComEd's relationship with a so-called consumer interest group that is backing the utility. Madigan says the multi-million dollar salaries paid to ComEd executives are a conflict of interest. ABC7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie has exclusive details in this Intelligence Report. Edison wants to charge about 25 percent more every time we switch on a light or run appliances. The huge rate increase comes at a time when huge executive paychecks paid to ComEd officials are raising questions about whether higher consumer rates will merely feed even higher salaries.

A TV commercial is featured on the website of an organization called CORE, Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity. The group's aim is to promote the interest of electricity consumers. But, a spokeswoman for CORE admits, they are joined at the hip with an unlikely partner, ComEd.

"A large portion of it is funded by Commonwealth Edison -- I can't tell you how much," said Avis LaVelle, CORE media liaison. Not only is CORE funded by ComEd, the I-Team has learned that CORE is actually a registered state of Illinois lobbyist, according to secretary of state records lobbyist registration records, the Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity has one client, ComEd. "There is something wrong if we are going to allow this one company with highly paid executives to raise the electric rates," said Quinn. Over the weekend, Lt. Governor Pat Quinn raised his voice against ComEd compensating its top five executives nearly $47 million a year. Quinn is raising the stakes in a letter to Illinois Commerce Commission Chairman Charles Box. The lieutenant governor is asking for emergency public hearings on Edison's executive compensation policy and on the so-called consumer interest group, CORE, that Quinn states "is acting solely in the financial interests of ComEd."

Attorney General Madigan said Wednesday that CORE is "a front group for ComEd" and that CORE has not registered with her office as is required by law for a non-profit organization.

Madigan says ComEd executives have a personal financial incentive to buy the most expensive electricity, because the more money ComEd brings in, the higher the stock option from parent company Exelon.

Friday, October 13, 2006

ComEd and Amerern’s ‘Reverse Auction’ must be stopped.

Statement by Dorian Breuer, Green Party candidate for Illinois State Senate, 1st District Wednesday, September 20, 2006
1856 S. Throop St. #2F, Chicago,IL 60608
Stephanie Lane, Campaign Manager, (773) 562-7492

The results of last Friday’s wholesale electricity reverse auction are disastrous: ComEd customers will receive a rate increase of 22 percent and Ameren customers an increase of 56 percent.

This must be stopped and I support SB 5766, a bill that would extend the current electricity rate freeze until the legislature can craft a plan that will protect consumers from the huge profit windfall Exelon and Ameren expect to receive.

Published reports state that SB 5766 is unlikely to pass the Senate, however, because State Senate President Emil Jones is not interested in passing the bill.

What has not been widely published is that that Exelon Corporation is the fourth largest campaign contributor to Emil Jones’ campaign fund with $30,000 in donations in the 2006 reporting period according to the website the Institute on Monday in State Politics. Not only that, but Electric Utilities in Illinois are the fifth largest industry to contribute to President Jones’ campaign with more than $55,000 in donations.

In fact since the 2002 election cycle, Emil Jones has received $100,000 in campaign donations directly from Exelon Corporation.

If President Jones was a Federal officeholder, those donations would be illegal.

Is it any wonder that the Illinois Senate is unlikely to consider SB 5766, a bill that would remove the massive profit windfall Friday’s reverse auction will bring to Exelon?

As a former member of the Board of Directors of the Citizen’s Utility Board for the 4th Congressional District, I saw first hand the anti-consumer tactics that Exelon has used in lobbying for this anti-consumer reverse auction.

Today I call on State Senate President Emil Jones to support SB 5766 while there is still time to protect the consumers of Illinois and to repair the impression that he is simply doing the bidding of one of his largest campaign contributors, the Exelon Corporation.

Green Party candidates refuse campaign contributions from corporations so that candidates once elected can pass legislation with only the interests of real people at heart.

If elected, I will work to sponsor and pass pro-consumer legislation like SB 5766 clear from all the corrupting influence of PAC and Corporate donations that course through the veins of Illinois politics.

I also support returning to the state’s regulation of the electric utilities as the only effective way to keep electricity rates low for Illinois’ consumers while also guaranteeing proper investment in our electricity infrastructure. Regulated monopolies can still earn a profit, they simply have to do it while ensuring the interest of consumers.

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