Consumers need choice of energy sources

In Illinois, the cost of misguided policies to electrify everything and take away energy choice is all but certain to raise prices and increase the risk of power outages. For the 36% of low-income Illinois households for whom energy bills are already a burden, such policies could trigger a dangerous decision: heat or eat?

A recent Consumer Energy Alliance analysis finds that Americans would have paid $137.4 billion more for their energy bills this winter if plans to mandate the type of energy resource we can use for heating, cooling and cooking went forward.

In Illinois, families would expect to pay over $12.9 billion more over just the winter heating season. Thankfully, those ill-advised proposals have failed thus far in Washington allowing families to continue to have a variety of energy choices, including natural gas and propane, leading to savings of an estimated 21% on energy costs this winter.

However, Illinoisans almost certainly will face that heat-or-eat dilemma by 2045. In 2021, Illinois became the first Midwestern state to phase out traditional fuels like natural gas for power generation when Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act. The law mandated the creation of an Illinois Energy Stretch Code that would allow municipalities to ban consumer choice in home fuel use.

Chicago climate activists this year urged the city to rule out natural gas in new buildings, despite the bitter winters. Another CEA analysis found that a natural gas ban in Chicago would cost $27,000 per household to replace just four commonly used household appliances that use natural gas.

Following the lead of states like California, where the energy policies are proving every day that that limiting choice harms families, raises energy costs and increases the likelihood of blackouts, is a path to higher energy bills and greater energy poverty.

Chris Ventura, Midwest Executive Director

Consumer Energy Alliance

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