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Chicago’s looming disaster?

Did you know that last winter, you paid 80 percent more for natural gas service, on average, than your friends and relatives in the suburbs?

And a big reason appears to be the mismanaged Peoples Gas pipe-replacement program.

That’s what Crain’s Chicago Business reported in a recent story with this ominous headline: “How long before Chicagoans pay twice what suburbanites do for winter heat?”

Put your bill next to a Nicor Gas bill, and the difference is shocking.

Delivery charges (what heating customers pay to get gas delivered to their homes):

Nicor customer: $16.59/month customer charge + 4.71 cents per therm of gas you use.

Peoples customer: $32.40/month customer charge + 19.477 cents per therm of gas you use.

A big reason for the difference appears to be a massive pipe-replacement program launched by Peoples Gas. For years, CUB and other consumer advocates have pleaded for cost controls to be put on the program.

But legislation to do that has stalled in the General Assembly, and Chicago could have a heating affordability crisis in years to come. “It’s a looming disaster,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata told Crain’s.

Let’s grab the momentum while this issue is making headlines. Please sign our petition to public officials pleading for them to fix the mismanaged Peoples Gas program.