By Scott Allen
CUB Environmental Outreach coordinator
As one of the CUB staffers (pictured here, at left) who helps people across the state cut their energy costs, I have a question for Illinois: Why are we waiting to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA)?
In the middle of a public health crisis, we face higher energy bills, a utility scandal and economic hardship. Current events show why we need to pass CEJA now:
- Just the other day, Vistra announced it plans to close the last five of its coal-fired power plants in Illinois. CEJA would help plant workers find new jobs and aid communities abandoned by coal companies. (It focuses on bringing the clean energy economy to communities that need it the most!)
- Federal prosecutors caught ComEd in a bribery scheme. CEJA calls for fair compensation for ComEd customers; it would create an independent ethics monitor for all utilities; and it would provide more oversight to prevent unwarranted rate hikes from ComEd and Ameren.
- Political appointees in Washington revamped electricity market rules to bail out fossil fuel power plants. That could hit most Illinois electric customers with up to $1.7 billion in higher power bills over the next decade. CEJA would give Illinois more control of its energy policy to protect us from those higher bills, and it would ramp up energy efficiency programs that have already saved consumers billions.
To summarize: CEJA would move Illinois to 100 percent renewable energy without raising taxes, hiking our power bills or giving a bailout to energy companies. Please tell Springfield!