Did the Commission Have Exclusive Original Jurisdiction Over Claims of Refund Filed by the Municipality Against a Service Provider ?

In Village of Evergreen Park, 296 Ill. App. 3d 810, 695 N.E.2d 1339, 231 Ill. Dec. 220 (1998) the plaintiff municipality filed a lawsuit against ComEd seeking monetary and equitable relief alleging that ComEd had wrongfully collected money for lighting equipment and services that were not provided. Specifically, the plaintiff municipality alleged that ComEd had charged it for electricity provided to street lights that no longer existed, and the plaintiff municipality sought reimbursement of the monies paid to ComEd for those charges. Village of Evergreen Park, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 812. Pursuant to ComEd's section 2-619 motion (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2006)), the trial court dismissed the plaintiff municipality's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that the Commission had exclusive original jurisdiction over claims for refunds or overcharges. On appeal, the plaintiff municipality argued that its complaint alleged that ComEd breached its contract with the plaintiff municipality for charging for services not provided in ComEd's tariff and that the breach of contract claim was properly filed in the circuit court. In affirming the dismissal of the plaintiff municipality's complaint, this court found that the "fact that the plaintiff labels its action a breach of contract action is not dispositive nor does it transform plaintiff's action into a civil action for damages." Village of Evergreen Park, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 816-17. The essence of the plaintiff municipality's claim was that ComEd "charged too much for the service, it provided," and that claim was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Commission. Village of Evergreen Park, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 818.