The interior of the Illinois Capitol is pictured in Springfield. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)
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Carbon capture and sequestration technology is used to take carbon dioxide — a powerful greenhouse gas — and move it through pipelines before storing it deep underground. Several groups are pushing for a bill that would regulate the emerging technology at the same time some companies are pitching pipeline projects to state regulators.

The Michael A. Bilandic building, home to the offices of the Illinois Commerce Commission, is pictured in Chicago. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Natural gas is fueling a fight between consumer advocates, a powerful utility company and the state. Amid competing advertising campaigns, accusations of mismanagement and state decarbonization efforts, the Illinois Commerce Commission is starting a process that will shape how the state regulates the increasingly controversial industry.

Illinois Commerce Commission Chair Doug Scott presides over a commission meeting in Chicago in late January. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Consumers likely to pay more for infrastructure improvements

The plans propose billions of dollars in spending and lay out the companies’ plans for supporting the state’s climate goals, including the transition away from greenhouse gas emitting energy generation over the next 20 years. The ICC is now reviewing the plans in a process likely to last the rest of the year. 

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)
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Consumer advocates are pushing for a change to state law that would bar utilities from collecting money from customers for those expenditures, liability insurance covering executives and for the cost associated with filing rate cases. 

(WTTW News)
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There is a battle over a multi-billion dollar, decades-long project to upgrade Chicago’s aging natural gas pipelines.

Pastor and environmental activist Veronica Johnson speaks to protestors at an Oct. 19, 2023, rally to pressure the Illinois Commerce Commission into rejecting utilities’ requested gas rate increases. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Chicago utility Peoples Gas is requesting a multimillion-dollar bump to its already record-high rate increase approved by regulators last month. Consumer and environmental advocates have pushed back strongly against the request.

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.

(Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

A group of businesses filed a complaint with state regulators alleging that Chicago electric company Commonwealth Edison improperly raised customer bills this summer. The complaint claims the utility failed to follow proper regulatory channels.

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.

(WTTW News)

Your gas bill could be about $12 per month higher next year — that’s the average increase per customer Peoples Gas estimates if it succeeds in raising rates. It’s the first time in nine years the utility company has asked for a rate hike.

Doug Scott stands for a photograph in the hearing room at the Illinois Commerce Commission offices in downtown Chicago. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

Doug Scott is the new chair of the Illinois Commerce Commission. The commission is currently considering six proposed rate increases by gas and electricity utilities serving residents in Chicago and throughout most of suburban and downstate Illinois.

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)
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‘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)

Utilities companies like ComEd and Peoples Gas make money by delivering energy. The rates they’re seeking to hike are for distribution, including infrastructure like pipes and transmission lines, and the profit they can tack on to those costs.

(Satya Prem / Pixabay)

Owners of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline have been given the go-ahead by Illinois to double capacity. Opponents aren't ready to give up the fight to block the expansion.

The Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have accused Peoples Gas of deliberately misleading regulators about the ballooning cost of a huge program to upgrade gas lines around Chicago. Tonight, we discuss the safety upgrades, the program's estimated cost and the claims about the company's actions with representatives from CUB and Peoples Gas.