Matthew Kaplan Photography

Rally Against Peoples Gas Rate Hike at the AON Building - March 27th, 2023

"While Peoples Gas rakes in record profits, we're left with soaring utility bills and our city has been plunged into a heating affordability crisis", explained Sarah Moskowitz of the Citizens Utility Board, at a protest held by Chicago residents yesterday morning in front of the AON Tower, where the public utility is headquartered.

"Peoples Gas has been on a spending spree for the last decade to prop up its aging outdated, dirty, unaffordable, fossil fuel system." she continued, referring to the billions the gas company has spent on its pipeline replacement program, which was launched in 2011.

According to the public interest group Illinois PIRG, an organizer of the rally, the massive infrastructure project's cost have risen from about $2 billion dollars to a projected $11 billion, while Peoples Gas has "raked in five years of record profits."

In January, People's Gas filed a request with the Illinois Commerce Commission for a $400 million rate hike, which would cause a record rise in heating costs for its Chicago customers, hitting low income and senior residents especially hard. Valerie Carroll of West Englewood, a grandmother and care-giver for a disabled family member, asserted "Peoples Gas keeps raising rates, but our paychecks are not going up."

According to utility filings from February, roughly 37% of customers in her zip code were more than 30 days behind in their gas bill payments by an average of $1100.

"It's not that people don't want to pay" Carroll emphasized, "they just can't afford it."

"We call on the ICC to say no to the People Gas rate hike and it's failing pipe-replacement program!" said Abe Scarr, director of Illinois PIRG. "It's time to stop wasting billions of dollars on soon-to-be obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure!"

The Illinois Commerce Commission is expected to rule on the proposed rate increase later this year.

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