Utilities - July 27, 2020
ComEd agrees to $200M fine in Illinois bribery charge
ComEd agreed to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement for a bribery charge related to their agreement with federal prosecutors to arrange jobs, monetary payments and subcontracted work for "various associates of a high-level elected official in the state of Illinois" from 2011 to 2019.
The Exelon subsidiary will also pay a $200 million fine for this charge and may not recover that fine through its rate base, Utility Dive reported. It is predicted that they will have to pay the fine through its shareholders.
The three-year deferred prosecution agreement is the result of a criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with cooperation from ComEd. The agreement only pertains to ComEd and will not extend allegations of misconduct to Exelon.
Certain groups, like the advocacy group Public Citizen, argue that Exelon should face greater consequences for the bribery charge of its Midwest subsidiary.
"Right now, the stench of Exelon is so severe that if Exelon plays any role whatsoever in decisionmaking at [PJM Interconnection], that reflects really poorly on PJM, and PJM should acknowledge that and take affirmative action in the form of banning Exelon from having any participation in PJM for the next three years," Tyler Slocum, Public Citizen's Energy Program director, told Utility Dive.
The group maintains the positive that Exelon should not be able to continue its participation in any regional transmission organization over the three-year period of ComEd's deferred prosecution agreement.
The publication also reported that the charges against ComEd will be dropped if they meet certain conditions and pay the $200 million fine; if they do not completely perform or fulfill their obligations to the U.S. in the next three years, they could face an additional fee between $240 million and $480 million.
"The agreement announced today, along with the remedial actions we are taking, puts this investigation behind us, removes the related uncertainty and ensures this cannot happen again," ComEd said in a statement
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