Blog Posts By:

Abe Scarr,
Illinois PIRG State Director

As documented in our December, 2020 report, Guaranteed Profits, Broken Promises, ComEd built an unparalleled political influence operation to pass the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), the law creating automatic “formula” rate hikes. Once built, ComEd continued to use its influence operation to win further windfalls for ComEd and Exelon. One of the best examples was when it returned to the Illinois General Assembly for more profits through a 2013 EIMA trailer bill. In our report, we calculated that this power play resulted in at least $400 million in additional profits for ComEd since the trailer bill passed in 2013, all paid for by ComEd’s customers. With new and additional analysis, we are updating our calculation to over $650 million.

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. 

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.

The Illinois Commerce Commission held a hearing today on internal reforms ComEd is making in 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. 

U.S. PIRG is calling on municipal, state and federal policymakers to mandate face masks in all indoor public spaces, as well as in outdoor locations where it’s hard for people to socially distance six feet apart.

Public health experts are starting to draw actionable lessons about the nature of how COVID-19 spreads. In addition to maintaining best practices –physical distancing, mask wearing and hand washing – it’s best to avoid extended, crowded indoor gatherings.

Every quarter, the Chicago gas delivery utility releases a report on its pipe replacement program. Unfortunately, the first quarter report shows the program continues to struggle: not prioritizing public safety and risk reduction, behind schedule and over budget, and increasingly unaffordable.

On Friday, Peoples Gas submitted an engineering study to the Illinois Commerce Commission. The study gives Peoples Gas, the Commission, and the public the first empirical look at the condition of the Peoples Gas distribution system in decades. That’s critically important information as Peoples Gas continues to run its troubled pipe replacement program.

The cheapest, cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use in the first place. Whether you care about improving air quality, fending off the worst impacts of global warming, or simply saving money, energy efficiency and conservation are critical.