CUB's Fall Update
- We fight for clean energy, consumer protections and lower utility bills before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and at the state capitol. Over the years, we’ve saved consumers more than $20 billion. One of our biggest wins was helping to pass the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, or CEJA, in September 2021.
- We’ve staffed more than 4,000 free events to help all Illinois consumers cut their utility bills.
- We’ve processed more than 200,000 consumer complaints/inquiries, staffing a toll-free Consumer Hotline, 1-800-669-5556, to advocate for consumers with questions or complaints about their utility service.
- We offer free fact sheets, guides and groundbreaking research to help consumers save money on their energy bills and fight climate change.
Since 1984, our work for Illinois consumers...
Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA)
This has been one of the most expensive years ever for Illinois utility customers.
Thanks to climate change, war, and the boom-bust cycle of fossil fuels, electricity and natural gas supply prices are at unprecedented levels.
Despite these price spikes, utilities want to increase our bills even more: We face $380 million in proposed utility rate hikes.
One piece of good news: The Climate & Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), Illinois’ historic energy legislation, is delivering benefits, including an estimated $1 billion in bill credits. CUB has been busy helping to implement CEJA–there’s a lot more work to do to protect consumers from price spikes caused by volatile fossil fuels.
“I have not used any more service, but the bill gets bigger and bigger,” one gas customer told CUB. “I can’t afford to pay at the rate they are raising it and can’t stay in my house with no heat…This is outrageous and unacceptable.”
So far in 2022:
- ComEd and Ameren Illinois are pushing for new “formula rate” increases of $199 million and $83 million, respectively.
- Illinois-American Water wants a $100 million rate hike—including an excessive 10.25 percent profit rate for shareholders. CUB co-sponsored testimony that recommended reducing the hike by at least $18.8 million.
- CUB is involved in several cases concerning alternative suppliers (Liberty Power Holdings, Switch Energy, Realgy, Clean Choice Energy) accused of violations. Victory: Life Energy has failed in its attempts to turn back a ruling by state regulators that slapped it with a $1 million fine.
- As we mark the anniversary of CEJA passing (Sept. 15, 2021), here are a few ways the landmark energy legislation is benefitting consumers:
- An estimated $1 billion in bill credits for ComEd customers. (And the replacing of the expensive formula rate-setting system with one that gives state regulators more authority.)
- A $38 million refund related to ComEd’s bribery scandal. (It’s a first step, but we want a bigger refund.)
- Tax-related refunds totaling $434 million (for ComEd customers) and $50.8 million (for Ameren customers) over the next 3 years.
So far in 2022:
- With energy prices at crisis levels, CUB’s Consumer Advocacy team, right, has taken 1,700 inquiries/complaints, and helped save individual consumers a total of $11,718.48.
- CUB’s Outreach team has staffed 276 free events to help people understand and cut their utility bills.
- The Communications team launched CUBHelpCenter.com, with information on high energy prices, energy assistance and tips to cut your bills.
- CUB’s Outreach team is part of Grow Solar Chicagoland, a program that aims to bring people together to lower the price of solar. Since 2019, it has helped 200+ properties install 1,474 KW of solar and participants cut their utility bills by thousands of dollars.
CUB In the News
New CUB Publications
Drivers have seen a tremendous increase in fuel prices across the country–and the growing costs of gasoline-powered cars combined with our growing climate problems are leading many to consider cleaner, cheaper transportation options. We’re excited to provide the EV Buyer’s Handbook, just as Illinois drivers have the opportunity to take advantage of the $4,000 EV rebate created by CEJA.
New Consumer Campaigns
Standing up to RTOs
CUB is fighting for clean, affordable energy at the world’s largest power grid operators, a.k.a. Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs).
- In July, CUB urged MISO, the grid operator in Central and Southern Illinois, to fast-track clean energy power plants as a long-term plan to help consumers suffering under the price spike. “I join Illinois consumers in urging MISO leadership to stop the delays and get the job done,” said CUB Communications Director Jim Chilsen, at a news conference with lead CEJA sponsors Sen. Cristina Castro and Rep. Ann Williams (right).
- We’ve also launched a project called CLEAR RTO to advocate for consumer-friendly policies at PJM, the power grid operator in Northern Illinois. Clean energy projects that could keep the lights on and lower our bills often wait up to five years to be connected to the grid.
So while we fight electric rate hikes proposed by ComEd ($199 million) and Ameren ($83 million), we’re also standing up to the big RTOs. The goal is the same: To cut your power bill.
We can't do this without you.
Whether it is securing refunds or establishing customer protections, it’s a privilege to take part in fighting the good fight. On behalf of the hardworking CUB staff, we thank you for your interest and support.
Jantay Gray, CUB's Administrative & Consumer Advocacy Assistant (often the first voice you hear when you call CUB)
CUB Board of Directors
CUB Board of Directors
- Robert Craig Neff, President, District 10
- Candice Justice, Vice President, District 1
- William Markel, Secretary, District 15
- L. Kristofer Thomsen, Treasurer, District 2
- Karen Eldred, District 3
- Philip DeMaertelaere, District 5
- Mark Benson, District 6
- Steve Kleinman, District 9
- John Cochrane, District 13
- Steven Hall, District 16
- James Betts, District 17
- Annie Warnock, Consumer Rights Specialist-Bilingual
- Bryan McDaniel, Director of Governmental Affairs
- Cyrius Currie, Director of IT
- Danielle Holmes, Consumer Rights Specialist
- David Kolata, Executive Director
- Elizabeth Brandon, Digital Communications Strategist
- Eric DeBellis, Regulatory Counsel
- Ivonne Rychwa, Outreach Director
- Jantay Gray, Administrative & Consumer Advocacy Assistant
- Jim Chilsen, Communications Director
- Julie Soderna, General Counsel
- Kate Shonk, Outreach Coordinator
- Marina Minic, Solar Programs Administrator
- Matt Harvey, Program Coordinator
- Samantha Royal, Outreach and Communications Coordinator – CUB Español
- Sandra Marcelin-Reme, Staff, Operations & Consumer Advocacy Director
- Sarah Moskowitz, Deputy Director
- Scott Allen, Environmental Outreach Coordinator
- Sophia Mayen, Digital Communications Coordinator
- Stephanie Salgado, Membership & Data Coordinator