State lawmakers to vote on rate increase for Illinois electricity consumers

When Illinois lawmakers reconvene in the state capitol on Tuesday, at the top of their agenda will be an energy bill that includes utility reform.

It also includes a rate increase for electricity consumers.

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Governor JB Pritzker’s office says the rate increase would come to at least $24 a year for a typical consumer. The Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) says that in light of the Exelon/ComEd bribery scandal, the state's utility giants do not deserve it.

"As our analysis shows, there could be a significant windfall for ComEd and Ameren. Because the policy continues to guarantee profits while also giving them a higher profit margin," said Abe Scarr.

While PIRG urges lawmakers to vote "No," some other activists favor a "Yes." They note that Exelon/ComEd was demanding $5 billion more than the company got in ratepayer subsidies for three additional nuclear power plants the company operates. Two other nukes already collect corporate welfare, at a rate of more than $15 per megawatt hour. The new subsidy rate will be only one-sixth of that.

"The story here is that Exelon lost. Exelon has lost here. And ratepayers and average citizens finally have got legislation that combats climate change. Political corruption has contributed to climate change over decades, and to pollution in communities. This is a bill that creates equitable jobs and doesn't pad fossil fuel and utility profits," said Jen Walling.

It is not clear if the bill has the votes to pass.