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Today, the Illinois Commerce Commission passed several emergency orders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including placing moratoriums on utility disconnections as well as on in-person solicitation by alternative retail electric and gas suppliers.
The Commission further opened an inquiry into energy affordability and ordered Peoples Gas to submit a formal response to the recently published engineering study of its distribution system, a study criticized by Illinois PIRG Education Fund for ignoring tough questions facing the troubled Peoples Gas pipe replacement program.
Illinois PIRG Education Fund Director Abe Scarr released the following statement in response:
Thank you Chairperson Zalewski and the Illinois Commerce Commission for taking swift action to protect the public health of Illinois residents by placing moratoriums on utility disconnections and on in-person alternative retail energy supply solicitation.
It’s critical that everyone stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of Covid-19. For many, this means a challenging combination of lost income and higher utility bills. No one should lose essential utility service during a pandemic and be forced from home to stay warm, cook, or power electronics.
We applaud the Commission's order requiring a formal response from Peoples Gas to its recently published engineering study, a study which did not include critical considerations such as logistical challenges and costs to customers. This action presents an opportunity for the Commission to fulfil its regulatory responsibility and reform the poorly designed, mismanaged Peoples Gas pipe replacement program.
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