SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Consumers across Illinois will see their gas bills go up, but not as much as utilities wanted them to.
The Illinois Commerce Commission ruled in their meeting Thursday to approve $36.34 million Ameren’s proposed rate hikes. Ameren asked the commission for a $71.57 million increase.
They came to the decision after evaluating the energy company’s rate filings for nearly a year. Part of the decision includes a new discount lowering gas bills for people who make up to 300% above the federal poverty line.
“For many households across Illinois, utility rates were unaffordable before today’s decision came to us,” Stacey Paradis, a commissioner for the ICC said at the meeting. “Today’s decision will result in rate increases across these four utility territories.”
Despite the increase, the Citizens Utility Board, a nonprofit watchdog group that advocates for affordable energy prices, declared the decision a victory.
“It looks like the ICC stood up and said, you know, enough is enough.” Jim Chilsen, the Citizens Utility Board spokesperson said. “And it’s no longer business as usual in Illinois.”
Despite the ruling, Ameren said in a statement to WCIA consumers will pay less on their bills when turning up the heat this winter.
“We will fully review the ICC order to assess the impact on our operations and the investments we need to make to ensure safe and reliable natural gas service. Regarding the cost impact, what matters most to our customers is their total monthly bill amount. Because natural gas supply prices have declined significantly, most residential customers can expect their monthly bills to be about $20 lower this winter heating season when compared to last year, even after factoring in new delivery rates.”Tucker Kennedy, Ameren Illinois spokesperson
Ameren serves 800,000 residential, public sector, and business customers across downstate Illinois.
The rates would go into effect on Jan 1, 2024. The ICC will make a decision on Ameren’s electricity rates on Dec. 14.