What we’re doing on our summer vacation

By Sagar Dommaraju

CUB's Yami Newell fights the good fight, helping consumers cut their utility bills at a recent Glen Ellyn utility-bill clinic. We've been busy staffing more than 200 events this year.

CUB’s Yami Newell, right, fights the good fight, helping consumers cut their utility bills at a recent Glen Ellyn utility-bill clinic. We’ve been busy staffing more than 200 events this year.

This summer, or any other time, CUB’s not taking a vacation from rate-hike battles.

  • ComEd has asked for a $138 million rate increase to help pay for upgrades to the power grid. CUB’s legal team is analyzing the proposal to weed out wasteful spending. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will rule on the case in December.
  • Ameren has proposed reducing its electric rates by $14 million, but after analyzing the proposal, CUB recommended doubling the decrease to about $30 million. A decision is due in December. (Ameren, like ComEd, has special “formula rates” to pay for high-tech power grid upgrades. Ameren’s proposed cut means the revenue it is gaining has caught up with the cost of the upgrades.)
  • CUB is urging state regulators to slash Illinois American Water’s proposed $43 million rate hike by at least 60 percent.
  • CUB, teaming up with Attorney General Lisa Madigan, argued that Peoples Gas withheld information about $4 billion in projected cost overruns for a pipe-replacement program–and that led to a $10 million customer refund. CUB will keep fighting to reduce unnecessary spending and secure more refunds.

Legal battles are not the only thing on CUB’s plate. The organization also helps individual consumers directly save money.

CUB’s consumer advocacy team handles thousands of utility complaints a year and so far this year has saved consumers a total of $32,000 by securing refunds and getting erroneous charges eliminated. Our outreach team has held more than 200 events, and shown consumers how to save $69,000 by analyzing utility bills, handing out energy-efficient light bulbs, and signing people up for efficiency programs.

If you like the work we do, please consider a donation–whatever you can afford–to support our pro-consumer work. We promise, we’ll never take a summer off fighting for you!

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About Jim Chilsen

Jim is director of communications for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
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