CHICAGO (CBS) — ComEd faces a new class action lawsuit claiming it violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and should reimburse customers who were overcharged for electricity as part of a yearslong bribery scheme the company has admitted to.
The lawsuit comes more than a week after federal prosecutors announced ComEd had been charged with a years-long bribery scheme involving the company’s arrangement for jobs, contracts, and payments to allies and associates of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
As part of a deferred prosecution agreement, the company admitted attempting to influence legislation regarding the regulatory process that determines the rates it is allowed to charge customers for electricity. Prosecutors estimated the company benefited by $150 million from that legislation.
Madigan, 78, has not been charged with a crime, and a spokeswoman has said he “has never made a legislative decision with improper motives and has engaged in no wrongdoing here. Any claim to the contrary is unfounded.”
ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine, and prosecutors agreed to defer prosecution of the company for three years while it cooperates with the federal investigation. Charges will be dropped after three years if ComEd complies with its obligations.
However, the lawsuit filed against ComEd on Monday claims the agreement with federal prosecutors does nothing to reimburse customers who were overcharged as a result of the bribery scheme.
The lawsuit seeks class action status, meaning it seeks to include as plaintiffs a large share of ComEd’s four million customers during the scheme, which prosecutors say ran from 2011 through 2019.
Attorneys for the named plaintiffs were scheduled to discuss the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon.