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Release: Coalition Praises Utility Accountability Reforms in Gov. Pritzker’s Consumers and Climate First Act

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 29, 2021

Contacts:
Illinois PIRG: Abe Scarr, 312-983-2789, abe@illinoispirg.org 
AARP Illinois: Monika Wnuk, 312-402-5257, mwnuk@aarp.org 
Environmental Law & Policy Center: Paul Dailing, 312-771-1979, pdailing@elpc.org

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday unveiled the Consumers and Climate First Act, an energy bill that both sets ambitious clean energy goals and highlights much-needed utility ethics and accountability reform.

The bill would mandate many of the same reforms included in the Take Our Power Back coalition platform. These include: immediately ending automatic "formula" rate hikes; ending gas utility surcharges driving up gas bills; pursuing restitution for ComEd customers; stopping utilities from pushing the cost of charitable donations onto customers; requiring a third-party, independent audit of ComEd and Ameren’s grids and grid investments under formula rates; and establishing integrated grid planning, giving communities a seat at the table when it comes to our clean energy future.

The groups had this to say: 

“For the past decade, ComEd, Exelon and other utilities have unduly influenced Illinois energy policy. Today, we applaud Gov. Pritzker for taking a stand against this undue influence and putting the interests of consumers and the climate first,” said Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr.  “It's time to end automatic formula rate hikes, gas utility bill surcharges and restore meaningful utility oversight. We call on the Illinois General Assembly to support these vital reforms.”

"We thank Gov. Pritzker for his leadership on these important issues," said Environmental Law & Policy Center Executive Director Howard A. Learner. "This legislation gives the renewable companies and environmental and consumer organizations a seat at the table when it comes to grid planning and investment. That ability to participate in the process will help ensure Illinois truly has a clean and equitable energy future."

“On behalf of our 1.7 million members across the state, AARP Illinois commends Governor Pritzker for his commitment to end the unchecked ability of utilities, through the formula rate scheme, to spend large amounts of ratepayer dollars with no real oversight,” said Bob Gallo, State Director of AARP Illinois. “While utilities report record profits, their ratemaking schemes have continued to take an immeasurable toll on their customers – especially those on fixed incomes—who are now millions of dollars behind on their bills.”

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Take Our Power Back is a coalition of AARP Illinois, Environmental Law and Policy Center, and Illinois PIRG. Read our coalition agenda here: https://illinoispirg.org/sites/pirg/files/resources/TOPB%20Fact%20Sheet_web.pdf

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