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CUB statement reacting to Peoples Gas’ announcement of another likely rate hike: In the midst of a woeful heating bill crisis for consumers, utility is “unrepentant,” must be opposed

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has discovered that Peoples Gas on Thursday filed a document (see Verified Petition for Waiver) with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) that raises the specter of another rate-hike request in 2024. 

CHICAGO—Hours after its latest effort to squeeze more money out of consumers collapsed yesterday, when the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) denied its motion for an emergency order to restore $134 million in prohibited spending on its controversial pipe-replacement program, Peoples Gas informed state regulators that it “anticipates” submitting a request for an entirely new rate hike.  This would follow the record $300 million rate hike the company obtained just last month.

In response to the newest motion that the utility filed with the ICC, CUB Executive Director Sarah Moskowitz issued the following statement:

This is another glaring example that there seems to be no limits to Peoples Gas’ greed.  Less than a month after the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) rejected  the company’s bid to charge consumers for gratuitous pipe-replacement costs – and only hours after the ICC  resisted its effort to bully them  with threats to cut jobs and jeopardize public safety – Peoples Gas is unrepentant, already declaring its intent to raid Chicago families for more money.

Peoples Gas has tallied six straight years of record profits, and it just received a record rate hike last month, even as regulators set strict new limits on how much money the company can recover from consumers for its discredited pipe-replacement program.  The notion that the company deserves more money is untenable on its face, and we will fight any new proposal for a Peoples Gas rate hike.

For years, Chicagoans have suffered from a growing heating -affordability crisis due to a misguided law that gave Peoples Gas the ability to charge its customers a ballooning surcharge for the spiraling costs of a pipe-replacement program that has been widely discredited for mismanagement exposed by independent audits, studies and analyses.  Thankfully, that era is over, as lawmakers did not extend the surcharge past Dec. 31, and the Illinois Commerce Commission applied appropriate scrutiny to Peoples Gas’ rate-hike filing.

CUB is thankful for these reforms, and we urge public officials to continue to stand strong in the face of this latest threat from Peoples Gas.