Illinois Utilities


A new report says electricity deregulation has saved Illinois customers up to $37 billion over the past 16 years.  

The report being released Monday by four business groups says the average household has paid $3,600 less overall than if the average annual electricity rates had stayed the same.  

Deregulation kicked in in 1998, allowing Illinois utilities to compete for business on the open market rather than being regulated monopolies whose rates were set. The utilities before deregulation both supplied and delivered electricity to customers, who had no other choices.  

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Since the outgoing General Assembly increased personal and corporate income tax rates in January, lawmakers have been at great pains to show how business-friendly they really are.

In the spring session, for example, the legislature approved a compromise workers’ compensation measure that sponsors said would save business up to $700 million, mostly by reducing payments to doctors and hospitals that treat injured workers.

Much like counting calories can sometimes cause people to make healthier food choices, seeing in black-and-white terms how much power you are using may inspire you to use a little less and maybe turn off some lights.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois’ outdated electrical grid needs extensive work as power demands grow. The state needs all the bells and whistles of new technologies that could make power more reliable and help to cut down on energy usage. And above all, it needs to move forward with the upgrades quickly to avoid eating the dust of other states making such improvements.

So say those backing legislation recently approved by the General Assembly that would allow the state’s two biggest utility companies to raise customers’ rates so they can invest billions in the grid. 

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Auditor general findings that a state agency has no official budget, financial reports, formal planning process or even basic office supplies are a bit shocking. According to a recent state audit, the Illinois Power Agency has paid its bills late, collected fees late and turned in travel vouchers late since its creation two years ago. 

Utilities don’t profit from the cost of energy. They simply pass that cost on to their customers, which accounts for about two-thirds of their overall bills. Utilities make their profits from a charge to deliver that power.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The ease of flipping a switch on a kitchen wall masks the complicated process that flows electricity to homes and businesses.

Electricity customers can be blissfully unaware that the process underwent a regulatory facelift of sorts over the past two years. Commonwealth Edison, which serves the northern part of the state, and Ameren Illinois, which serves the central and southern regions, no longer procure their own power loads.

The Illinois Power Agency does it for them.

Light Bulb
Daisy Langston Juarez

It happened the way lawmakers often resolve big issues: months of debate, a series of all-nighters and, finally, a deal to restructure the state's regulation of electric utilities. Gerald Keenan, a former top manager at the Illinois Commerce Commission, remembers it as public policy by negotiation, "and it was truly a camel when it came out."