Since its inception in 1984, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has saved Illinois consumers more than $20 billion by fighting proposed electricity, natural gas and telephone rate hikes.
In fact, for every dollar CUB has raised during that time, it has yielded roughly $300 in savings—a dramatic return on investment that represents one more reason why the St. Louis Post-Dispatch praised CUB as the “gold standard” of consumer advocates.
Below are some of CUB’s biggest victories over the years.
Policy Team: Efficiency victory in Springfield
CUB helped pass the Future Energy Jobs Bill (Senate Bill 2814). We supported the legislation because it requires ComEd and Ameren to dramatically improve their energy efficiency programs and reduce electricity waste by up to 21.5 percent, lowering our power bills by at least $4 billion through 2030.
Legal Team: $35 million in savings
We helped win $35 million in legal victories for lower utility bills. (Helped secure an $18.5 million gas refund package, helped reduce ComEd’s rate hike by $2.3 million, and helped reduce Illinois American’s hike by $14.2 million.) Plus, the legal team successfully fought for state regulators to pass stronger consumer protections against electric rip-offs.
Outreach Team: $148,787 in savings
-CUB’s Outreach team helped host 475 events this year, showing customers how to save an estimated $148,787 by analyzing utility bills, handing out energy-efficient light bulbs, and signing up people for efficiency programs
Advocacy Team: $56,711 in savings
The Consumer Advocacy team fielded thousands of inquiries about utility companies and generated $56,711 in savings by advocating for consumer rights, spotting billing errors and securing refunds for people who contacted CUB.
CUB Action Network: 55,000 messages
This year, members of CUB’s Action Network generated more than 55,000 emails/petition signatures urging politicians and regulators to fight high bills and rip-offs. If you haven’t already, join at CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
Statewide Education Campaign: New cable guide
CUB created a 19-page guide to help pay-TV customers cut their bills, and then distributed it for free in our first-ever statewide education campaign focusing on cable customers.
Rate Cases: $92 million in savings. In 2015, CUB’s legal team beat back roughly $61 million in Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas rate-hike requests and defeated about $14 million in Ameren rate hikes. The team also helped to increase a ComEd rate cut by $17 million (to a total of $67 million).
Refunds: $570,000 in savings. CUB’s legal team worked with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and the Illinois Attorney General’s office to help negotiate $570,000 in refunds for customers of two alternative power suppliers, Nordic Energy and Major Energy. The companies had been accused of misleading marketing.
CUB Energy Saver: $373,700 in savings. This year, more than 3,900 thrifty Illinoisans joined CUB Energy Saver, CUB’s free tool that builds a customized money-saving plan for your home and rewards participants for cutting kilowatt-hours. The service saved users a total of $373,700 in 2015.
CUB events: $250,000 in savings. CUB’s Outreach team helped host nearly 500 events, including a record 60 events in August. The 10-member team helped show consumers how to save an estimated $250,000 in 2015 by analyzing utility bills, handing out energy-efficient light bulbs, and signing people up for efficiency programs.
Consumer advocacy: $30,000 in savings. CUB’s Consumer Advocacy team fielded almost 8,000 inquiries/complaints and generated more than $30,000 in savings by advocating for consumer rights, spotting billing errors and securing refunds.
Victories in Springfield. Amid deadlock in Springfield, CUB successfully pushed the General Assembly to approve a $50 cap on alternative supplier exit fees. We also were part of a successful campaign to veto Senate Bill 1421, which could have forced Illinois water customers to pay for services they never receive. Additionally, CUB and other consumer advocates battled Exelon to a standstill, helping to stall legislation that would have added up to $1.6 billion in new fees to Ameren and ComEd power bills.
Major Victories Over the Years
- Centel refund/rate cut, 1986: $2,000,000
- Blocked Nicor Gas rate hike, secured refund, 1987: $40,000,000
- Peoples/North Shore Gas rate cut/refund, 1987: $27,000,000
- ComEd rate deal rejected, 1987: $1,320,000,000
- Overturned ComEd rate hike, 1987: $245,000,000
- Illinois Power rate deal blocked, 1988: $3,000,000,000
- ComEd rate deal overturned, 1989: $750,000,000
- ComEd rate case settlement, 1993: $1,679,000,000
- Ameritech rate cut, 1994: $465,000,000
- 10-year rate cut under electric restructuring law, 1997: $6,288,124,185
- ComEd customer assistance fund, 2000: $400,000
- CILCO refund, 2001: $20,400,000
- Ameritech merger savings settlement credit, 2002: $224,000,000
- Verizon merger savings settlement credit, 2003: $139,686,512
- Blocked ComEd/IP merger/rate-hike legislation, 2003: $2,000,000,000
- SBC voicemail class action settlement, 2004: $40,000,000
- Cut ComEd rate hike, 2005: $262,455,000
- Peoples Gas/Enron refund, 2006: $100,000,000
- Cut Peoples/North Shore Gas rate hike, 2007: $32,267,000
- Cut Ameren electric rate hike, 2007: $58,342,000
- Cut ComEd rate hike, 2007: $87,761,000
- Ameren/ComEd refunds after power auction abolished, 2007: $1,001,000,000
- Cut Nicor Gas rate hike,2008: $72,237,000
- Cut Ameren gas/electric rate hike, 2009: $118,618,000
- Cut Peoples/North Shore Gas rate hike, 2009: $58,717,000
- Cut ComEd rate hike, 2010: $218,793,000
- Illinois Power Agency procurement savings, 2009-11: $1,639,663,226
- Cut Peoples/North Shore Gas rate hike, 2011: $61,504,000
- Cut Peoples/North Shore Gas rate hike, 2012: $40,920,000
- Nicor Gas refund, 2013: $72,149,519
Total savings: $20.065 billion