County Board Candidate Ed Varga Demonstrates Tenancity in ICC Com Ed Bill Dispute

In 2009, Richmond’s Ed Varga set his sights on the U.S. Senate. Now, he has downsized his ambitions to the McHenry County Board. He is running in the GOP primary in District.

Below is what he wrote about tilting with Commonwealth Edison.  It’s not a variation of “I fought the law and the law won.”

An energy giant is shown controlling electricity on a power substation across from Daley Plaza. Photo by Ed Varga.

Energy Giant

(I took the picture to the left today [12-15-11].

It is a relief stone on a building which houses a power substation across from Daley Plaza.

It resonates with me not only for its art deco features but also how it depicts an energy giant, controlling the power allowed to come into our homes, offices, and factories.

The giant is depicted as muscular and lording over our population, and definitely made me remember why I was downtown.

The following was hand written in parts today as I undertook to attend a hearing at the ICC regarding a complaint I filed over my Commonwealth Edison Bill.

I am transcribing it as best I can with edits for clarity.

Here is the link to the ICC website if you want to read more about the case : http://www.icc.illinois.gov/docket/casedetails.aspx?no=11-0467.)

Merry Christmas from the eighth floor of the Bilandic Building at 160 N. Lasalle, Chicago, Illinois.

This is where the offices of the Illinois Commerce Commission are located and where I find myself today, at the end of a long path that began almost a year ago.

It was in January of 2011 when I received the bill for my December 2010 electric usage and found that it indicated I used almost 300% of the electricity I did the year previous in the same month.

That is right, somehow what I was able to do in my house in December of 2009 with 1,031 kwh (kilowatt hours) required 2,646 kwh in December of 2010.

The Engineer and ComEd customer in me said something must be wrong with my meter.

This one simple hypothesis led me here, to room N808, where I sit now, waiting.

What started as repeated phone calls to ComEd customer support, a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, and a replaced electric meter, is now ending with a hearing in response to a complaint I filed in June of this year when ComEd refused to adjust my bill.

I am told by the judge who will be conducting the hearing I will have to wait because there is another hearing involving ComEd where their attorney who will be present for my hearing is making an appearance first. 11:15 am and it looks like things will get started now.

(The following was hand written in the train on the way home after the hearing)

The hearing began finally at 11:18 and was recessed almost immediately as the judge asked if the parties had a chance to discuss matters.

Since we had not she recessed the hearing and left the room while we talked.

It took almost a half hour with me being repeatedly questioned by two attorneys in our discussion how I came up with the conclusion the meter was wrong.

I thank God for my engineering background and German persistence as I was able to demonstrate over and over how the collected two years worth of data indicated a pervasive increase in usage culminating in the spike in December of 2010.

11:45 am and the ComEd attorneys left the room.

Five minutes later they came back with an offer to settle.

The amount was an estimation of the overcharge in December of 2010 and the late fees accumulated from me refusing to pay the bill. I accepted.

The amount of the settlement does not matter.

To some it may be small but to me it was fair.

No matter how small the amount, I am smiling as the train rocks me back and forth, because I won. I won!

I stood up to the energy powerhouse to which there is no rival, their two attorneys, and the ICC office where apparently everyone knew each other but me.

I was the stranger in a strange land and I knew their information was wrong and I saw it through.

And in the end, we shook hands, wished each other happy holidays, and went home to our families.

It feels good, being able to do something for others, to stand up for others, to stare down the overwhelming odds and state your case.

I hope to be able to do that as a representative on the County Board soon.

Right now it is time to find a comfortable spot on the window to rest my head and grab a nap.

I didn’t sleep well last night at all.


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