The Clean Energy Jobs Act is the most comprehensive energy bill in Springfield, putting Illinois on a path to a carbon-free electric sector, reducing transportation pollution, and creating equitable job creation in communities across Illinois. It also promises lower utility bills. But how does the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) save Illinois consumers money?
- CEJA expands energy efficiency programs that have already cut utility bills by billions of dollars. The Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), groundbreaking energy legislation passed in 2016, requires Illinois’ largest electric utilities to launch one of the nation’s most ambitious plans for customer electricity savings. Under FEJA, ComEd must develop and enhance customer efficiency programs to cut electricity waste by a record 21.5 percent, and Ameren by 16 percent, by 2030. For the first time, big utilities have an incentive to meet their efficiency goals, with bonuses for exceeding targets and penalties for falling short. The Natural Resources Defense Council conducted an analysis that estimated that FEJA’s energy efficiency provisions could lead to up to $7 billion in consumer savings. CEJA would improve upon the efficiency standards established by the Future Energy Jobs Act by applying those standards to gas bills.
- CEJA would negate a federal regulatory ruling that threatens most Illinois consumers with up to $864 million a year in higher power bills. Last December, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a ruling that alters the “capacity market,” a special electricity market that affects what consumers pay on their power bills in all or part of about a dozen states, including northern Illinois. This market, currently run by out-of-state power grid operator PJM Interconnection, has needlessly inflated Illinois electric bills in recent years by over-procuring electricity from dirty fossil fuels. FERC’s decision rewrites market rules to bankroll dirty power generators at the expense of states like Illinois, where consumer-friendly, clean-energy investments have led to declining costs for consumers. To negate the FERC ruling, CEJA puts the Illinois Power Agency (IPA)—a state agency that manages energy purchases for ComEd and Ameren—in charge of the capacity market, instead of PJM. Putting the state fully in charge of its own clean energy policy could save consumers money while greatly expanding renewable energy investment in the state.
- CEJA’s “consumer protection adjustment” guarantees cost savings for ComEd customers over what they currently pay for electricity. The bill locks in a combined 5 percent savings on the following charges: energy, capacity, zero emissions credits (ZECs), and renewable energy credits (RECs). For 2018/2019, for example, ComEd customers would have saved a minimum of $250 million under the CEJA consumer savings guarantee. But the 5 percent savings is a price ceiling, not a floor. Customer savings could be greater.
- The act would create an optional rate plan called “Time of Use” (TOU). TOU pricing charges participants different electricity rates during certain periods of the day, such as a day rate and a night rate. Past policy developments in Illinois helped create Hourly Pricing and Peak Time Savings programs, which have both led to millions of dollars in savings for consumers. TOU would give customers another money-saving option.
And these provisions are just the beginning. The Clean Energy Jobs Act is a blueprint of how the entire state can ramp up renewable energy production and move toward 100 percent clean energy, while protecting consumers’ power bills.
“It’s the best thing for the planet, it’s the best thing for our wallets,” CUB Environmental Outreach Coordinator Christina Uzzo said. “It’s really a win-win.”