Dear Illinois consumers:
Now that the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) a global pandemic, I want to let you know that the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) will continue to serve you through this public health crisis, while doing our part to limit this hazard from spreading.
CUB, Illinois’ nonpartisan, nonprofit advocate for utility customers, will continue to provide its core services to consumers, but in a manner that minimizes risks of exposure to you and our staff. Based on the recommendation of Gov. Pritzker and public health experts, I have directed the CUB team to work from home until further notice and to postpone CUB community events through March 31.
Please know that our team is well-equipped to continue to perform all of our important tasks for however long this crisis lasts. That includes:
- Operating our toll-free Consumer Hotline and online complaint system. If you have a complaint or question about your utility service, please do not hesitate to call CUB, 1-800-669-5556, to talk to an expert 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or to file a complaint online. (We will be answering phones and processing complaints from home.)
- Launching a new service: Virtual Utility Bill Clinics. Our in-person events may be postponed,
but we are offering a new option in the meantime. Consumers can email us their utility bills, and we will analyze them for potential ways to save. That means Illinois consumers can receive the same service we provide at our events—but from the comfort and safety of their own homes. (Please read more about this CUB service here.)
- Holding online events: We are offering to hold special virtual events for Illinois community groups that request it. These presentations can cover a number of utility-related and clean energy topics, such as how to reduce your utility bills, Illinois’ community solar program and other solar options, how to sign up for good energy efficiency programs, and special pricing plans such as Hourly Pricing and Power Smart Pricing that are good for the pocketbook and the planet. If your community group is interested in such a program, please email Joseph Giamberdino, outreach coordinator.
- Fighting for lower utility bills and clean energy. Our legal and policy teams are involved in battles involving hundreds of millions of dollars—including Ameren Illinois’ $102 million natural gas rate-hike request. We will continue to advocate for the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) to protect ComEd customers from up to $864 million in higher bills. Our work will not slow on those fronts. We are well-prepared to file testimony, teleconference, and do whatever is necessary to continue the fight for lower utility bills.
- Providing good information. During a crisis like this, outlandish theories gain traction on social media and scam artists try to take advantage of people. Consumer advocates are issuing warnings of hucksters trying to lure people into buying products they claim will protect them from COVID-19. Don’t fall for it! (Read our updates and tips.)
Finally, I want to be clear that CUB stands firmly in the camp with public health experts who recommend tackling this crisis head on with science, facts and prudent, nonpartisan, decisive action. My guidance to CUB’s staff is the guidance I give to you: Be safe but don’t panic. Being your own best consumer advocate means taking a crisis seriously, but arming yourself with the facts. Please take a few minutes to review these reliable resources to help you take all the necessary precautions.
I believe my staff is among the finest consumer advocates in the country—please know that we will continue to serve you. Working together, we will get through this crisis.
CUB Executive Director