Large electric rate increases projected by opponents of energy bill

Large electric rate increases projected by opponents of energy bill

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Businesses and labor unions joined forces Thursday in saying negotiations over clean-energy legislation that would result in the largest rate hike in Illinois history must slow down and become more transparent.

The coalition, which included the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and representatives of trade unions and agriculture, said the as-yet unfinalized bill would impose a minimum of $700 million in annual energy rate increases and unnecessarily jeopardize thousands of good-paying jobs.

“This massive electric rate hike couldn’t come at a worse time for Illinois businesses and families, who will be asked to pay significantly higher monthly electrical bills,” said Mark Denzler, president and chief executive officer of the manufacturers’ association.

More:Downstate lawmakers, unions, nonprofit utilities wary of ‘zero-carbon future’ legislation

They used a Statehouse news conference to criticize what they believe are details of a bill backed by Gov. JB Pritzker and being negotiated with General Assembly lawmakers to promote alternative energy sources and reduce fossil-fuel emissions by eventually requiring the closure of all coal-fired plants in the next 14 to 24 years.  

Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, speaks Thursday at a Statehouse news conference in Springfield with representatives of businesses and organized labor about the potential detrimental effects of a clean-energy bill for the state.

Supporters of an energy bill, including environmental groups, want legislation to force reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions and other pollutants, promote transitions to wind, solar and other alternative forms of energy and preserve jobs at money-losing Exelon nuclear power plants in northern Illinois.

Denzler said business groups that have heard details of issues discussed in negotiations over an energy bill fear the legislation would result in large surcharges on electric bills to help pay for the legislation’s programs and requirements.



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