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Executive Director’s Report

Because 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.

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.