However, this unbilled energy results in significant costs to payers in more than 350 municipalities, which together pay hundreds of millions of dollars more than they might otherwise owe as a result of the agreements. According to estimates by Mark Pruitt, a former director of the Illinois Power Agency, who studied how franchise agreements prevent cities from reducing energy costs and investing in clean energy. Negotiations for a new franchise agreement with ComEd have been going weekly behind closed doors for a year and have continued, even as federal prosecutors have been working on public services as part of a wide-reaching investigation involving lawmakers and public lobbyists. The franchise agreement is a contract that allows ComEd to continue to supply electricity to Chicagoer. .