This month, Nicor Gas will begin issuing $72 million in refunds ordered by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) following a 10-year legal battle waged by CUB and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.
Nicor says the average homeowner will receive a total of about $30 paid out over the next 12 months, while business owners will receive about $100.
The refund won’t appear as a separate line item on bills, but will instead be factored in as a credit to the gas supply charge. Current Nicor customers who purchase natural gas from the utility—not an alternative supplier—will receive the refund.
Had it not been for a memo faxed to CUB by an anonymous Nicor whistleblower in 2003, the refund may never have happened. That fax led to an investigation by CUB uncovering Nicor’s scheme to mislead state regulators and ultimately bilk customers of about $300 million.
Nicor and CUB are appealing the ICC ruling before the Illinois Appellate Court—CUB to increase the refund and Nicor to reduce it. While those issues are worked out, the Appellate Court has issued a temporary stay on an $8 million portion of the refund Nicor disputes. For now, customers will begin to receive the remaining $64 million owed to them. CUB will keep you updated on Appellate Court action.
Note: Thank you to all the people who commented on this post. We agree that the refund amount should be higher, and that’s why we’re continuing the fight before the Illinois Appellate Court. (To answer another comment, the refund does include interest.) And we hear your frustration about the refund not going to former Nicor customers or customers who have switched to an alternative gas supplier. That was part of the ICC’s final ruling. However, if a customer returns to Nicor Gas as his or her supplier at any point during the 12-month period of the refund, that customer would receive a pro-rated portion of the refund for the remainder of the 12 months.