Illinois Commerce Commission member Michael Carrigan, Chair Doug Scott and member Ann McCabe are pictured at a commission meeting in Springfield earlier this month. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

Regulators at the Illinois Commerce Commission unanimously approved rate hikes for four major natural gas utilities, but the little-known regulatory body’s decision was perhaps more notable for what it rejected. The board flexed its regulatory muscle, slashing the utilities’ requested rate increases by as much as 50 percent.

Yessenia Balcazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force holds a sign in downtown Chicago at a March 27, 2023, protest of Peoples Gas’ proposed rate increase. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Utility customers throughout Illinois will likely see higher natural gas bills beginning in January after staff at the state’s utility regulatory agency recommended rate increases for four gas companies.

State Rep. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood, is pictured in an Illinois House committee room earlier this year. He said he is going to try to override Gov. J.B. Pritzker's veto of a bill that would have granted existing utilities in downstate Illinois, notably Ameren Illinois, the “right of first refusal” for transmission line construction. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

The governor issued what’s called an amendatory veto, striking only the portion of House Bill 3445. He left the rest of the bill, which modifies a state grant program and requires several policy studies, untouched.

Illinois PIRG Director Abe Scarr offers public comment at a Tuesday Illinois Commerce Commission hearing on Peoples Gas’ requested utility rate increase. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

The Illinois Commerce Commission is considering several rate hikes, including two sought by the utilities Peoples Gas and Ameren Illinois, who say they are needed to fund infrastructure improvements.

Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin calls for a reduction to a requested utility rate increase by Peoples Gas at a June 1, 2023, news conference. Rosazlia Grillier, a resident of West Englewood and advocate for low-income families, is also pictured. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

‘Unprecedented’ number of rate cases pending before Illinois Commerce Commission

Millions of Illinoisans could see higher energy bills next year, but the size of those increases will be determined by a state agency that has recently had its oversight powers expanded.

(WTTW News)

For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker will present from the Illinois House chambers to a joint session of state representatives and senators.

John Cullerton

Electricity is the talk in Springfield as the charged battle over the so-called "Smart Grid" bill comes to a head. Carol Marin joins us live from the state capitol, with Senate President John Cullerton, to discuss today's dramatic developments at the veto session.