Today, Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty issued the following statement on ComEd’s bribery scandal:
A week ago, on July 17, ComEd, the regional electric utility, admitted to bribery charges tied to arranging jobs, contracts and payoffs from 2011 to 2019 in order to win influence and curry favor with officials in the State Legislature. The bribes paved the way for the passage of laws that benefited ComEd, leading to higher electric rates under the Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act of 2011 and the Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016.
ComEd’s bribery scheme comes at a steep cost to Evanston ratepayers past, present, and future. In Evanston, 40% of residents are housing cost or severely housing cost burdened, 200 participate in the City’s General Assistance Program, and over 600 annually file for low income utility assistance. ComEd’s illegal practices siphoned millions of dollars out of Illinois ratepayers, including Evanston residents already struggling to keep their lights on.
To make matters worse, the legislation ComEd sought to influence had a direct effect on the State and Evanston’s ability to combat the accelerating climate crisis. The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) established new funding processes for energy efficiency programs in Illinois. It handed the administration of these programs to ComEd, allowing them to prioritize profits over public interest.
The City of Evanston prides itself on partnering with organizations that reflect the integrity required to gain and maintain public trust, and ComEd has failed to meet these standards. I am disappointed in ComEd’s actions and their disregard for our community’s well-being. I expect that prior to engaging ComEd in any future partnerships or agreements, they will demonstrate the same commitment to public trust that we deeply value in Evanston.