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Report from Springfield, by Bryan McDaniel, CUB director of governmental affairs

Bryan

This is one of my busiest times of the year in Springfield. But I wanted to send you a quick note about one piece of pro-consumer legislation we support in the General Assembly’s spring session.

Legislation: House Bill 5101, sponsored by Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr., of Chicago
PROBLEM:
*A state report found that consumers lost nearly $198 million with alternative electric suppliers from June 2016 through May 2017. CUB continues to get a steady stream of complaints from customers of alternative suppliers who are paying double or worse on their electric and gas bills.

*Of the 55 electric suppliers listed on Illinois Commerce Commission’s Retail Electric Supplier Complaint Scorecard, 32 suppliers had a 3-star ranking or less out of 5 stars. Twenty-three suppliers had a 2-star ranking or less.

*LIHEAP funds, which help low-income customers pay their utility bills, are under pressure from alternative suppliers and their outrageous charges. That’s because LIHEAP recipients needs a larger benefit when they are overcharged by an alternative gas or electricity supplier. This depletes LIHEAP funds more quickly and leaves people at the back of the line, out of luck.

SOLUTION:
HB 5101 would change state rules so gas and electric suppliers who market door-to-door, over the phone or via mail can no longer hide their charges on utility bills. Those suppliers would have to bill customers separately.

Believe me, the energy companies that oppose these bills have a lot of money and a lot of lobbying power, so I depend on the involvement of good citizens like you. Get ready to take action this spring. Thanks!

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