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CUB’s Springfield Update: Thank you to our supporters!

By Bryan McDaniel, CUB Director of Governmental Affairs

With major Illinois utilities pushing for a record number of rate hikes over the past year,  CUB drafted and found sponsors for four pro-consumer bills at the State Capitol. CUB’s legislation addressed the kind of issues that frustrate Illinois consumers:

  • Worked to protect customers from paying utility costs that we shouldn’t, like country club memberships for companies and outside expert witnesses in Illinois rate-hike cases. (Read the Chicago Sun-Times editorial in favor of this bill.)
  • Continued to push for relief for water customers burdened by the high costs of privatization.
  • Fought to bring back low-cost AT&T landline plans.
  • Introduced a bill to require that utilities disclose how they vote at regional transmission organizations–the power grid operators, like PJM and MISO, that have a major impact on how affordable, clean and reliable our energy is.

Can’t say enough about our bill sponsors. Thank you Rep. Theresa Mah, Rep. Lilian Jiménez,  Rep. Nabeela Syed,  Rep. Joyce Mason and Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton. 

CUB continued and, in some cases, started important conversations on lowering utility bills around the state. The fight continues, and CUB will not give up.  

Sometimes the fight also includes playing defense. CUB testified for consumers during a nearly three-hour Energy & Environment Committee hearing on a right-of-first-refusal proposal, which would give Illinois electric utilities a lucrative monopoly over the building of transmission lines.  With billions of dollars of transmission lines set to be built and upgraded across the state the utilities want to corner the market on that investment.  While such a policy would be wonderful for utilities’ profits, it wouldn’t be so for consumers’ wallets. A competitive bidding process for transmission-line projects helps keep the costs we pay lower than they otherwise would be. 

As I write this we are heading into the final week of Session. CUB will be on alert to help stop any utility attempts to inflate their profits, and we will continue to educate lawmakers on how the bills we worked to introduce would save ratepayers money.  The thousands of messages you send and petition signatures you provide make a difference, they truly do, as do your donations.

The support of our members truly means a lot. Thank you!