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ICC approves Wisconsin Energy merger

20150624_WEMergerThe Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) voted 4-1 to approve a $5.7 billion merger between Wisconsin Energy and Integrys Energy Group, Peoples Gas’ parent company.

CUB had hoped to see the ICC attach stronger pro-consumer conditions to the merger—especially in light of a Peoples Gas pipeline replacement program that is costing consumers billions.

The ICC ordered an audit of the program after projected costs doubled to $4.6 billion in its first five years.  These ballooning costs could cause gas rates to double over the next decade, according to an analysis by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.

The ICC’s audit was pretty damning, revealing that the project has been riddled with mismanagement and ineptitude.  And in the mean time, Illinois ratepayers have suffered three rate hikes to pay for the disaster.

As the merger progresses, CUB will work closely with regulators and consumer advocates to make sure that Wisconsin Energy is held accountable and Chicago gas customers aren’t on the financial hook for their gas company’s mistakes.

(For more information, read CUB’s full statement.)

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  1. REPLY
    Bob - Thrifty energy user says

    I ditched my natural gas line, got off the natural gas grid, and am now heating with an electric heat pump in Lake County, Illinois. It cost less money to heat this way. As more people do what I have done, the people remaining on the natural gas grid will have to pay a larger share of the gas pipeline improvements, which will lead to more people getting off the natural gas grid, and on and on – sounds like a death spiral for the natural gas grid in Northeaster Illinois. Just remember, natural gas is not a clean fuel.

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