When the Illinois General Assembly created CUB
in 1983, it gave the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization a clear mission: to represent the interests of residential utility customers across the state. The statute directs CUB to carry out that mission by intervening in ratemaking proceedings before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), in the courts and before other public bodies and by providing consumers with information and assistance regarding their utility companies.
Since its inception in 1984, CUB has been doing just that—working for lower rates and better service from the state's investor-owned electric, gas and telephone companies. Over the last
years, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by blocking rate hikes and winning consumer refunds. Click here to view the CUB Act
, which created the Citizens Utility Board.
The Purpose of this Act is to promote the health, welfare and prosperity of all the citizens of this State by ensuring effective and democratic representation of utility consumers... Such purpose shall be deemed a statewide interest and not a private or special concern.
Citizens Utility Board Act
Illinois Compiled Statute, Section 220 Chapter 10
Scope of work
When a utility seeks a rate increase or a change in service, it must win approval from the ICC. The utility usually presents the commission with detailed testimony from numerous experts to back up its request. CUB's job is to present the same kind of evidence and make persuasive legal arguments—but from the consumers' point of view.
CUB challenges utility rate increases, fights for rate reductions and refunds of overcharges, and appeals unfair regulatory decisions in the courts. CUB also promotes tougher consumer protection laws in the state legislature, where rules governing the utilities are written, and publishes consumer, education materials. CUB also is working to ensure that the introduction of competition into the utility industry will provide real benefits for real people, and not just added headaches and hassles.
CUB operates a Consumer Hotline (1-800-669-5556) that provides assistance to individual consumers who have complaints against their utility companies. The Hotline fields more than 6,000 calls a year.