Crain’s Chicago Business reports that in the first quarter of the year—a relatively warm winter—Peoples Gas still made a record $97.6 million. That’s after two straight years of record annual profits.
“It wasn’t long ago when Peoples’ profit over an entire year wouldn’t approach the nearly $100 million it collected in the first quarter,” Crain’s reported.
If you’re wondering, the parent companies of Peoples Gas and the two other major gas utilities in the state—Nicor and Ameren Illinois—raked in first-quarter profits totalling more than a billion dollars.
One big reason these gas companies are making so much money is a state law that CUB is fighting in Springfield. It allowed Peoples, Nicor and Ameren to add a surcharge on our bills to sidestep the regulatory process and automatically raise our gas bills.
CUB has warned repeatedly that this surcharge will help spark a widespread heating-affordability crisis in Chicago, and the warning has become even more dire in the last few months. In the middle of an economic crisis, it’s important to keep this issue on the radar of state legislators. Even though it’s summer, we must continue the fight for lower gas bills all year long.