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Longtime consumer advocate Sarah Moskowitz succeeds David Kolata as CUB Executive Director

Sarah Moskowitz, CUB Executive Director

Sarah Moskowitz, who during a two-decade career at the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has advocated for thousands of utility customers and pioneered the group’s nation-leading Outreach program, will now head Illinois’ top utility watchdog, succeeding David Kolata, who concludes an acclaimed 18-year tenure at the organization’s helm, the CUB Board of Directors announced Tuesday.

Kolata, who is leaving for a new leadership position in the clean energy industry, enthusiastically endorsed Moskowitz, formerly the group’s Deputy Director—and the CUB Board voted unanimously for her appointment. 

“First and foremost, Sarah is a fierce consumer champion,” said CUB Board President Robert Craig Neff. “Her longtime experience advocating for utility customers and leading many of CUB’s key consumer initiatives, plus her strong grasp of energy policy, made her an overwhelmingly popular choice by the Board and the CUB staff to lead the consumer group into a new era.”

Moskowitz will be CUB’s fourth executive director, after Kolata, Martin Cohen and Sue Stewart.

“I am honored and excited to carry on CUB’s legacy and lead the important consumer advocacy work for utility customers in Illinois,” Moskowitz said. “I am grateful to my CUB colleagues and the thousands of utility customers I’ve worked with over the years—they made me a better consumer advocate and have prepared me to lead CUB at this key moment. As we challenge unprecedented rate hikes and help usher in the clean energy future, Illinois consumers need a tough consumer advocate in their corner. Our team is up to this historic task.”  

Kolata, who is becoming vice president of policy at Sealed, a climate tech company that designs, manages, and finances home weatherization and electrification projects, described Moskowitz as the perfect choice to lead CUB at this moment in Illinois utility history. CUB is challenging a record $2.9 billion in electric and gas rate hikes, and is working to implement the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), groundbreaking energy legislation that aims to power Illinois with 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

David Kolata, former CUB Executive Director

 “I’m proud of what CUB has accomplished, and although it’s sad to leave, I know the consumer group will be stronger than ever under Sarah’s leadership,” said Kolata, who first came to CUB in 2001 and became its executive director in 2005. “Sarah is a lifetime consumer advocate who loves wrestling with the question of how energy policy can better serve consumers. Her deep experience filling several key CUB roles—including her start answering the Consumer Hotline and her years traveling the state as the leader of the Outreach team—has given her a profound understanding of the needs of Illinois utility consumers. CUB is in great hands.” 

Under Kolata’s leadership, CUB successfully advocated for historic legislation, such as the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) and CEJA, and increased the amount it has saved consumers to more than $20 billion. Moskowitz began at CUB even before Kolata, and she was a key player in the group’s consumer victories over the last two decades. 

After graduating with honors from the University of Chicago in 2000, Moskowitz served a two-year stint staffing CUB’s Consumer Hotline, which handles thousands of inquiries a year from sometimes desperate customers with complaints about their utility bills. 

She scaled back to working one day a week doing administrative tasks while she attended grad school, and returned to CUB full-time in 2006 after receiving a Master’s Degree in the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. Moskowitz spent the next 13 years building CUB’s Outreach program into a national leader in consumer education that staffed 400 to 500 free events a year across the state of Illinois. The events, including CUB’s popular utility bill clinics, help customers process complaints against their utilities, warn consumers about energy rip-offs peddled by alternative suppliers and counsel people on how energy efficiency and other clean energy programs can lower their utility bills.

Moskowitz and CUB’s Outreach team played leading roles in several cutting-edge initiatives that made the watchdog a national leader in educating consumers on how clean energy can cut utility bills. That included hundreds of Smart Grid educational events; an online energy efficiency tool called CUB Energy Saver; CUB Energy Responder, a demand-response program tailored to curb the energy use of plug-in appliances; and CUB’s solar group-buy programs, which have used volume discounts to help participants install solar panels and cut their bills by hundreds of dollars a year.

By the time Moskowitz became CUB Deputy Director in 2019, working closely with Kolata and the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition to help pass CEJA, she had helped orchestrate hundreds of educational programs and events, and had personally handled thousands of consumer inquiries, showing people how to cut their utility bills by hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.