Blog Posts By:

Abe Scarr,
Illinois PIRG State Director

In the wake of the ComEd scandal, the Illinois General Assembly must enact meaningful utility accountability reforms - not only to address unethical behavior, but to also address the harmful utility policy legacy of the past decade. We were thrilled that the Consumer and Climate First Act includes our agenda’s key priorities.

House Bill 1473 is yet another proposal to grant gas grant utilities overly broad authority to spend billions of dollars with limited oversight, driving up customer bills with no guarantee of customer or public benefit. 

House Bill 1472, House Floor Amendment 1 is complex, sophisticated legislation, but can be summarized simply: it doubles down on the worst policies passed during ComEd’s corrupt scheme, and makes them even worse.

We oppose Senate Bill 2393 because it assumes fossil fuel infrastructure is the best solution to a community’s energy needs without proper consideration of alternatives. We also oppose SB2393 because it incentivizes gas line extensions throughout Illinois by shifting costs of extension on to existing customers. These policies are risky if not reckless in a time of climate change.

Senate Bill 311 is the latest bill in a series of utility-driven initiatives to legislatively grant utilities overly broad authority to spend massive amounts of money with limited Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) oversight, driving up customer bills with no guarantees of customer or public benefit.

House Bill 3115 is the latest in a series of utility-driven initiatives to legislatively grant utilities overly broad authority to spend massive amounts of money with limited Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) oversight, driving up customer bills with no guarantees of customer or public benefit.

As has been well established, the Peoples Gas pipe replacement program is driving a home heating affordability crisis in Chicago. New data on utility debt provided to the Commission underlines the severity of the problem. 

Our job is to make sure that any decisions that get made during this legislative session are made in the public’s best interest. 

Imagine you go to a hospital for a routine procedure. You’ve made sure your hospital and doctor are covered by your insurance. The procedure goes well and you head home to recover. Two weeks later, you get the bill, but instead of the copay you expected, you get a bill for nearly $4,000. Turns out, the anesthesiologist who assisted with your procedure was “out of network” and your insurance won’t cover that bill as expected. You’ve received a surprise medical bill and now owe the difference between what your insurance will pay the out-of-network anesthesiologist and what you were billed. 

The Chicago City Council Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy held a subject matter hearing today on ComEd and its response to the recently revealed illegal bribery scheme. Illinois PIRG director Abe Scarr made comments to the Commision during the meeting's public comment period and submitted extended written comments.