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CUB’s monthly report on gas volatility: May 2024

Gas prices are lower than they were a year ago for most customers in the Chicago region, thankfully, but five utilities from across the state saw increases ranging from 9 percent to 97 percent from last May, according to CUB’s review of Illinois’ gas market.

Gas utilities file supply prices–called the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA)–each month with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Here’s what we uncovered in our review of May prices:

  • Compared with last month, four major utilities are charging prices that are lower, ranging from about 1 percent (MidAmerican) to 9 percent (Liberty). Four are charging prices that are higher, ranging from about 1 percent (Ameren) to 15 percent (Consumers Gas). One gas utility, Nicor, is charging the same price it did in April: 34 cents per therm.
  • Compared with May 2023, prices for five of the utilities this month are higher than a year ago, starting with Mt. Carmel (9 percent increase). Illinois Gas customers are for the second consecutive month suffering the highest increase: 97 percent in May; 59 percent in April. Four utilities are charging lower prices than last year, ranging from a decrease of 13 percent (Nicor Gas) to 24 percent (Peoples Gas).

Below are the PGAs for May and how they compare with a year ago:

Ameren Illinois– 47.06 cents per therm (up about 16 percent from May 2023)
Consumers Gas– 39.41 cents per therm (up about 37 percent from May 2023)
Illinois Gas– 42.33 cents per therm (up about 97 percent from May 2023)
Liberty Utilities– 58.03 cents per therm (down about 16 percent from May 2023)
MidAmerican Energy– 36.51 cents per therm (down about 20 percent from May 2023)
Mt. Carmel– 15.42 cents per therm (up about 9 percent from May 2023)
Nicor Gas– 34 cents per therm (down about 13 percent from May 2023)
North Shore Gas– 34.62 cents per therm (up about 22 percent from May 2023)
Peoples Gas– 27.28 cents per therm (down about 24 percent from May 2023)

Note: Your utility is determined by where you live, so you cannot switch from one utility to another.

Under Illinois law, gas utilities are not allowed to profit off supply prices—they pass those costs from gas producers and marketers onto customers with no markup. State regulators annually review the utilities’ gas-management procedures to ensure the companies did a reasonable job with their gas purchases, given market conditions, to hold down costs for consumers as much as possible. Regulators can order refunds if they find the companies were imprudent, but that is a rare event.

A few tips about your gas bill:

  • See if you qualify for energy assistance. The application process for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is open until Aug. 15. To apply or learn more, visit www.helpillinoisfamilies.com or call the Help Illinois Families Assistance Line at 1-833-711-0374.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your utility. If you are having trouble affording your gas bills, it is vital that you contact your utility. Ask if you qualify for energy assistance programs; see if you can set up a payment plan to give you a longer time to pay off your bills; and inquire about no or low-cost energy efficiency programs the company offers.
  • Beware of alternative supplier rip-offs. If a deal seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is. Read our tips. (Note: Only consumers in Northern Illinois have gas choice.)
  • Practice energy efficiency at home. For tips and information about helpful energy efficiency programs offered by your utility, visit CUB’s Clean Energy page.

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