When utility power and profits go unchecked, consumers lose — but when Illinois lawmakers had a chance to bring much-needed reforms to the state’s energy policy, they failed to step up.
On Aug. 31, the Illinois Assembly passed a sweeping energy bill that not only extends formula rate policies, which guarantee utility profits, but also provides Exelon (parent company of the utility ComEd) with a $694 million nuclear bailout. The legislation dismisses key reforms that Illinois PIRG, other consumer advocates, and even Gov. J.B. Pritzker have called for, such as checks on utility bill surcharges and an end to utilities’ ability to charge customers for utility “charitable” giving.
“In the wake of the ComEd bribery scandal, the Illinois General Assembly had the opportunity to make a clean break from the tainted energy policy approach of the past,” said Illinois PIRG State Director Abe Scarr. “Utility companies were in the negotiating room while utility critics were shut out, resulting in legislation that fails to meet the moment.”