CHICAGO, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) on Monday commended Gov. Pat Quinn for standing up for Illinois consumers and vetoing two bills that could have slammed Land of Lincoln residents with higher heating costs for years to come.
Gov. Quinn announced Monday that he would veto SB 3388 and SB 1927, which would have funded coal-to-gas plants in Chicago and Southern Illinois' Jefferson County. The legislation, which passed the Illinois Senate in January, required Illinois natural gas utilities to purchase heating fuel at potentially double or more the current market price of gas from these two synthetic gas plants. The burden of those costs would have been passed onto residential customers.
An analysis by consumer advocates estimated that the plants would have increased heating costs by up to an average of $167 a year from 2015 to 2024.
"This is a great move by Gov. Quinn and a great day for Illinois consumers," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. "SB 3388 and SB 1927 could have sent the average family's gas bill soaring by hundreds of dollars over the next decade. Working families are the backbone of a strong economy, and adding to their fixed monthly costs would only weigh down a state already struggling with the economy. CUB applauds the governor for protecting Illinois' most important resource, its residents."
Kolata also praised Illinois consumers for leading the charge against SB 3388 and SB 1927. In the weeks before Gov. Quinn's decision, consumers sent thousands of messages to the governor through CUB's Action Network.
"CUB is grateful to the thousands of consumers who sent messages to the governor through the CUB Action Network asking him to veto the bills, and countless others who wrote letters, made phone calls and organized rallies against the bills," Kolata said.
SB 1927 would have required Illinois utilities to enter into 10-year gas-buying contracts with a planned $1 billion coal-to-gas plant slated to be built by 2015 by Power Holdings of Illinois in Jefferson County. SB 3388 would have required the utilities to enter into 30-year contracts with a planned $3 billion coal-to-gas plant to be built by 2017 by New York-based conglomerate Leucadia National Corp. on Chicago's far South Side.
Kolata added that synthetic natural gas plants could make sense if done right, if appropriate consumer protections are in place, and if the plants were part of a comprehensive energy strategy. "We look forward to working with all parties involved to help create a comprehensive energy strategy for Illinois," he said.
CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds over the years. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556 or visit CUB's award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
SOURCE Citizens Utility Board