FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2021
Monika Wnuk, Associate State Director of Communications
312-458-3611 or cell: 312-402-5257
AARP Illinois Issues Statement on Omnibus Energy Bill
The following statement was issued by AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo following the passage of the omnibus energy bill:
On behalf of our 1.7 million members and all older adults across the state, AARP Illinois is dismayed at the signing of the omnibus energy bill. This legislation will harm older adults on fixed incomes across Illinois while utilities and certain power generators continue to reap historic profits. This is the bottom line.
Over the years, we have heard from countless individuals who have had to prioritize keeping the lights on over paying for their prescription medications or saving for retirement, all because their energy costs kept going up. Since 2011, ComEd has increased the cost of delivering energy by 37% without any measurable benefit to the consumer.
This bill, which an AARP Illinois analysis found would build up to a $15 monthly increase in costs for single family consumers, will undoubtedly plunge Illinoisans across the state – who are already millions of dollars behind on their bills – further into debt.
We need to be clear about the fact that the increased costs of this bill to consumers will not go toward furthering renewable energy in our state. Of the $11 billion guaranteed to ComEd, $4.1 billion will go to increased distribution costs related to the new performance based ratemaking scheme included in this bill. This practice of ratemaking is a similar scheme that was found to be passed illegally, costing customers billions of dollars in unnecessary fees on their bills. Those customers have not been provided any restitution for this, something we continue to advocate for on their behalf.
While AARP Illinois is pleased to see provisions in the bill that aims to prevent the type of illegal conduct ComEd admitted to, through greater oversight by the Illinois Commerce Commission, we implore the General Assembly once again to be prepared to act on behalf of ratepayers and enforce the implementation of these ethics reforms. As consumer advocacy groups were not allowed into the closed-door negotiations that led to this bill, it is even more critical that representatives elevate the voices and concerns of their constituents as the bill is implemented.
As this legislation goes into effect, AARP Illinois will continue, as it has always done, to fight on behalf of the ratepayers who deserve to have their voices prioritized in the creation of any legislation that will deeply affect their cost of living in Illinois.