Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
for Review of an Order of the Illinois Commerce Commission.
No. 16-0243 Leslie D. Haynes, Administrative Law Judge.
JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Connors and Delort concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 This is an administrative review action brought by pro
se petitioner, Quinshela Wade, against Commonwealth
Edison Company (ComEd) and the Illinois Commerce Commission
(Commission) (collectively the respondents). Petitioner
appeals from the order of the Commission denying her motion
for summary judgment and granting ComEd's motion to
dismiss. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of
the Illinois Commerce Commission in part and remand in part
3 On June 22, 2012, in accordance with the General
Assembly's policy that Illinois electric utilities should
upgrade their transmission and distribution infrastructure,
the Commission approved ComEd's advanced metering
infrastructure (AMI) plan and ordered ComEd to deploy
"smart meters" throughout its entire service
territory. See 220 ILCS 5/16-108.5 (West 2016);
Commonwealth Edison Co., Ill. Comm. Comm'n No.
13-0285, at 3-5. (Order-Interim June 5, 2013) ("Approval
of an Accelerated Meter Deployment Schedule, " setting
forth revised accelerated schedule); Hawkins v.
Commonwealth Edison Co., 2015 IL App (1st) 133678,
¶¶ 5-6. An AMI meter, or a "smart meter"
as it is more commonly known, is a digital electric device
that has the ability to measure a customer's electricity
usage and to communicate these measurements wirelessly to the
electric utility company. See 220 ILCS 5/16-108.6(a) (West
2016). Unlike traditional analog meters, smart meters enable
an electric utility company, inter alia, to receive
usage information from the customer's electric usage
meter at regular intervals, eliminating the need for a meter
reader to visit the customer's premises. Id.
4 On February 5, 2014, the Commission approved a tariff
proposed by ComEd to address issues arising from customers
who refused the installation of smart meters (hereinafter
referred to as the tariff). Commonwealth Edison Co.,
Ill. Comm. Comm'n No. 13-0552, at 1 (Order-Final Feb. 5,
2014) ("Submission of Rider NAM, Non AMI Metering"
(tariffs filed September 20, 2013)). The Commission
ultimately approved a $21.53 monthly charge applicable to
customers who refused to allow ComEd to install smart meters
at their premises. Id. at 13. The $21.53 charge was
to help offset costs associated with non-AMI meters,
including the cost of manually reading such meters.
Id. The Commission found the $21.53 charge to be
cost-based and likely to deter smart meter refusals.
Id. The Commission further directed ComEd to make
the $21.53 charge a separate line item on each bill and to
use language to make it clear that the charge is a direct
consequence of the customer's refusal to allow an AMI
installation. Commonwealth Edison Co., Ill. Comm.
Comm'n No. 13-0552, at 1 (Order-Amendatory Mar. 19,
2014). The Commission recommended "Smart Meter Refusal
5 When the time came to install the smart meter at
petitioner's home, she refused to let ComEd do so.
Petitioner's subsequent monthly bills from ComEd added
the $21.53 charge, listed separately as "Smart Meter
Refusal Charge." Petitioner thereupon began to deduct
$21.53 from her payment to ComEd each month, and ComEd began
to charge her late fees for failure to remit full payment of
each monthly bill.
6 On April 4, 2016, petitioner filed a complaint against
ComEd with the Commission, challenging the legality of the
smart meter refusal charge. Petitioner moved for summary
judgment in her favor. ComEd moved to dismiss
petitioner's complaint with prejudice, arguing that the
complaint failed as a matter of law because the smart meter
refusal charge was mandated by the tariff.
7 On March 15, 2017, the Commission issued a final order
denying petitioner's motion for summary judgment,
granting ComEd's motion to dismiss, and dismissing
petitioner's complaint with prejudice. In its order, the
commission stated that the tariff "requires that ComEd
charge [petitioner] the $21.53 Smart Meter Refusal
Charge" as "[i]t costs ComEd more to send a meter
reader to a customer's home because the smart meter
automatically, electronically sends the meter reading to
ComEd's facilities, without the cost of the meter
reader's time, the car, and the gasoline, among other
costs." The Commission concluded its order by stating
that it found "no basis" for ruling in
8 Petitioner filed a motion for rehearing, which was denied
by the Commission. Petitioner then filed a petition for
review before this court.
10 We note that we have jurisdiction to review the final
order of the Commission as petitioner filed a timely petition
for review pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 335 (eff.
July 1, 2017). See Kreutzer v. Illinois Commerce
Comm'n, 404 Ill.App.3d 791, 796 (2010) (jurisdiction
is vested simply by the timely filing of a petition for
review in this court as required by Rule 335).
11 No other Illinois case has addressed this issue.
Accordingly, this is a matter of first impression. The
question before us is whether the Commission erred in denying
petitioner's motion for summary judgment and dismissing
her complaint with prejudice. The primary issue in answering
this question, as presented by petitioner, is whether ComEd
customers have a right to refuse installation of smart meters
on their premises without paying a refusal fee. Petitioner
also raises a procedural due process challenge regarding the
fact that there was no ...