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Executive Director’s Report

tote bag banner.jpgBecause of CUB’s most valuable supporters, here’s an update on where we’re at with some key battles in Springfield. Also, we want to let you know about a special offer in honor of CUB’s 35th anniversary.

35 years ago this month, a small group of consumer advocates began challenging high utility bills in Illinois, and since then CUB has helped save Illinoisans more than $20 billion.

This month, in honor of our anniversary, we are offering CUB’s special, heavy-duty cotton canvas tote bag to anyone who helps us fight rate hikes with a donation of $25 or more.

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We could always use the help. Here’s our to-do list in Springfield:

  • CUB is fighting for legislation, the Clean Energy Jobs Act (Senate Bill 2132/House Bill 3624), to help protect Illinois consumers from out-of-state power generators that want to alter electricity market rules and make most Illinois consumers pay up to $500 million a year more on their power bills.
  • We’re fighting legislation pushed by Vistra (Amendment #4 to Senate Bill 2080), Illinois’ largest coal plant operator, to get a $1 billion bailout.
  • We’re battling legislation pushed by NRG (Amendment #3 to Senate Bill 135), Illinois’ second-largest coal plant operator, to get a bailout of at least $300 million a year.
  • CUB is fighting for stronger consumer protection laws (Senate Bill 651) to combat rip-offs from alternative suppliers. Since 2015, Illinois consumers have overpaid by more than $550 million with alternative power suppliers.
  • We’re pushing legislation (House Bill 3044) to rein in out-of-control spending in the Peoples Gas pipe-replacement program, which threatens to spark a heating-affordability crisis in Chicago.

We’re also fighting many battles outside the State Capitol:

  • In Washington, we’re battling power generators’ attempts to change key electricity market rules at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And we’ll challenge any attempt by AT&T to get Federal Communications Commission approval to end Illinois landline service.
  • At the Illinois Commerce Commission, we’re challenging Nicor’s $183.4 million rate-hike request. (The hike has already been reduced from a record-high $230 million, and at press time we were working to cut it more.)
  • Across Illinois, we’re holding 500 events to spot rip-offs hiding on utility bills and educate consumers about energy efficiency programs that can cut their costs.

There’s a lot of work to do, but we’re glad we’ve got you on our side. As one of CUB’s volunteers, Emilia, told us recently, we’re doing valuable work:

“CUB reaches out to everyone on a basic level of need, not ideology. It is hard to find a volunteer opportunity that isn’t partisan. CUB is focused on just helping people and it doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe…You guys are just there to help and I really appreciate that.”

And we appreciate all of you.

P.S. The big utility companies have raked in billions. If you help fight rate hikes with a $25 donation (or more), we’ll send you CUB’s heavy-duty, cotton canvas tote.

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