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AARP: Climate/energy bill would eventually lead to $15 monthly increase in utility bills for single family customers

Tuesday, Aug 31, 2021

* This press release is just one reason why the General Assembly needs to be extra careful with this climate/energy bill and not make it look like they’re just muscling it through to help big corporations. From AARP Illinois…

As legislators return to Springfield to consider a utility reform bill that could bring the largest rate hike in Illinois history, hundreds of older adults have signed a petition urging elected officials not to forget them when casting a vote.

The concern from older adults across the state comes with good reason: data analyzed independently by AARP Illinois – because a cost analysis was never presented to the public – finds that the bill being debated this week would build up to a $15 monthly increase for Single Family customers and would lead to more than $14 billion in increases to customer bills during the next 10 years.

“Our members are deeply concerned and dismayed about their utility bills, which keep going up without any explanation or consumer input,” said State Director Bob Gallo. “But they are equally frustrated that their elected officials continually act in the best interest of ComEd and other big utilities, which use unfair lobbying practices and not on behalf of the residents.”

Since Aug. 26, more than 500 older adults across Illinois have completed petitions with AARP Illinois, the non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the lives of those 50+. The petition demands that consumer advocacy groups, like AARP Illinois, be included in negotiations about the omnibus energy bill. On Tuesday, AARP Illinois representatives hand delivered stacks of these signed petitions to legislators at the Capitol.

Research compiled by AARP Illinois found that from the current legislation being considered, the largest single cost driver (larger than the next largest cost by $1.5 billion), is not the increase in renewable energy funding or the equitable and jobs training, but it is the increase to ComEd’s profits. That $4.1 billion increase represents only the increase in money going to Exelon over the next 10 years.

L. Reed, a Lake in the Hills resident and single mother of a 13-year-old son, said she put off seeing a doctor and buying groceries for several weeks to cover a $220 electric bill. Reed had to rely on her church to supply food to her and her son, and the high bill was still not enough to keep her home cool. She had to sit in a chair with ice packs on her to keep from overheating.
“There is no reason, with all the technology we have today, that electricity should be so expensive,” Reed said.
Other older adults who shared their utility struggles with AARP Illinois include: People who have had to stay working long into retirement to keep up with increases. Residents who are on the brink of declaring bankruptcy because they are paying hundreds of dollars a month on utilities.

Currently, Illinois utility customers are millions of dollars behind on their utility bills. Meanwhile, ComEd is projected to make record profits this year, even after it admitted to a 10-year bribery scheme that cost consumers $5 billion dollars.

The rate schemes that only benefit the utility companies, bailouts for nuclear plants, forced electrification, and increased rate caps for ratepayers are just a few reasons that electric bills will steadily increase on the citizens who can least afford it.

AARP Illinois continues to support future legislation to:

    • End formula rates and all similar ratemaking schemes, and give the Illinois Commerce Commission back control over the ratemaking process;
    • Stop additional nuclear bailouts for Exelon, which would lead to even further unfair electricity rates for you and other unsuspecting consumers;
    • Put a stop to so-called “charitable contributions” by big utility companies that are actually giving away consumers’ money to make themselves seem benevolent;
    • Enact strict ethics reforms and enhance oversight on utilities to ensure greater transparency and accountability and prevent any further illegal actions employed by utility companies that would lead to more ill-gotten rate increases;
    • Oppose legislation that raises rates through questionable new spending.

“All Illinois utility customers – and especially older adults on fixed incomes – deserve energy legislation that finally puts them first,” Gallo said. “We urge legislators in Springfield to vote on behalf of the people who put them in office, who are telling them that the largest utility rate hike in history should not be an option.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - NotRich - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    Mmmm.. I have seen legislative analysis that puts the monthly cost at $4-$6 .. somebody can not add>> LOL


  2. - Southern Skeptic - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    I love AARP. I’ve worked with AARP. On this one, AARP is wrong. This analysis is just not correct.


  3. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 12:05 pm:

    If the AARP really cares about low income seniors, maybe they should start supporting reforms to the complete subtraction of all federally taxed retirement from Illinois taxable income.

    You know, so well to do retirees can start contributing to the cost of the solutions for issues caused by politicians they supported failing to address climate change and failing to have an adequate tax levy.


  4. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 12:23 pm:

    === maybe they should start supporting reforms ===

    Whenever I hear “reform”, I make sure my wallet is securely in my pocket.


  5. - From the Oort Cloud - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    OK, I’ll bite. Start by googling “AARP Illinois energy bill analysis”. Nothing. Google “AARP Illinois press release energy”. Bingo. There’s the press release but…. no bill analysis, no report, no math…. nothing. Spend 10 minutes clicking every single link on the AARP website, twitter, facebook etc. Nothing. At least at this time, there is no public-facing AARP analysis of the energy bill. There’s a press release with a bunch of incorrect assertions. What a joke.


  6. - Amalia - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 12:49 pm:

    Executive Council State President Rosanna Marquez should know better. Old City Hall staffer.


  7. - Curer Bell - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 12:57 pm:

    Shame on AARP. If you’re going to put such an outrageous number like this out there, you had better be prepared to show how you got it. This is fake news.


  8. - Ok - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 1:17 pm:

    It’s well under $4/month. The numbers are out there. AARP has long been in bed with the gas industry, and this continues that trend.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    AARP was not too thrilled with the Fair Tax… now this…

    Thing is… if labor wins with this and this bill is tubed, one main reason is the nuance to process and appearances versus sausage making… in the end, how it can be packaged as a win, soup to nuts, is as important than a roll call


  10. - City Zen - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 1:43 pm:

    ==AARP was not too thrilled with the Fair Tax==

    AARP fully supported the Fair Tax. Even created their own ballot initiative committee (Yes to a Financially Responsible Illinois) to market heavily in favor of it.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 1:46 pm:

    === AARP fully supported the Fair Tax.===

    My apologies, that is correct, I am wrong.

    I was going down the road of the taxing retirement income rabbit hole and came out lost.

    Thanks for correcting me.


  12. - Citizen Kane - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 1:47 pm:

    As someone who grew up within the shadows of the Byron Cooling Towers and is a nuclear advocate - AARP makes some really good points.


  13. - Southern Skeptic - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 2:57 pm:

    Labor is not trying to tune this bill. I don’t know why you keep saying that.


  14. - Southern Skeptic - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 2:58 pm:

    Tube. Not tune.


  15. - Odysseus - Tuesday, Aug 31, 21 @ 10:04 pm:

    “said she put off seeing a doctor and buying groceries for several weeks to cover a $220 electric bill.[…]
    “There is no reason, with all the technology we have today, that electricity should be so expensive,”

    ———
    “There is no reason, with all the technology we have today, that houses should be so poorly insulated”.

    I fixed it for you.


  16. - George - Wednesday, Sep 1, 21 @ 8:57 am:

    As far as the cost, and I’ve heard lower estimates than this as well, the big unknown is wholesale power prices. You can come up with a pretty good estimate of what a utility will charge customers for beefed up energy efficiency programs. You can’t really judge the impact of taking the gas and coal generation offline, and how that impacts the wholesale power markets. There are just too many variables. How much renewable comes online, is there a way to store that renewable power, what happens to generation in other states, how do electric vehicles impact demand, etc. That’s potentially the biggest cost here, but its a longer term one and no one can really say they have a realistic estimate. $15 might be way too high, it might be way too low.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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