Community Energy Cooperative says legislation right moves for residential energy customers

CHICAGO, June 6, 2002 — Since the beginning of May, Illinois residents have had the technical capacity to choose an energy supplier thanks to the “Illinois Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997.”

Hope for a competitive electricity market in the State of Illinois has not materialized into real options for residential customers, the cooperative said. Energy deregulation can work in Illinoins, it said, but only when residential and small commercial customers have the choices and technology they need. That is why the State of Illinois has an important new role to play beyond the one outlined in the 1997 Act.

State Senator Steve Rauschenberger (R-33 Elgin) has led the way by sponsoring a number of bills including SB 1569.

Sen. Rauschenberger and his colleagues in the State legislature have begun to address a void in the market through new legislative initiatives to foster opportunities for small users of electricity to benefit in the same way as large users. Recently passed Senate Bills 1565, 1569 and 1645 which passed unopposed in both the House and Senate, are a beginning step in shaping new policies to protect and benefit small users of electricity.

The bills direct the Illinois Commerce Commission to study and issue a report on the benefits of municipal aggregation for consumers, and create a revolving loan program to provide commercial, municipal, and residential consumers with access to capital for energy-related investments.

“We need to ensure that residential consumers and small businesses benefit from the deregulation of electricity in Illinois,” said Senator Rauschenberger. “Without further attention from the state to the barriers to energy efficiency and a competitive marketplace, no one will see the benefits envisioned when we enacted the 1997 deregulation bill.”

“The efforts of Senator Rauschenberger and his colleagues to keep energy issues that affect small commercial and residential consumers on the table are critical if deregulation is to work for most consumers in Illinois,” said Kathryn Tholin, General Manager of the Community Energy Cooperative.

The three bills are currently on the governor’s desk, awaiting his signature.

The Community Energy Cooperative, founded in 2000, develops and manages programs that increase energy efficiency and lower energy costs to its members, including individuals, small businesses, and local governments.

Bill Details and Sen. Rauschenberger’s Co-Sponsors

SB1565 Energy Efficiency Loan Fund Creates an energy efficiency revolving loan fund at the Illinois Development Finance Authority, and authorizes IDFA to make low-interest loans to local governments and non-profit groups for energy efficiency projects. Gives priority to projects that reduce electricity demand in new ways and that improve service reliability and energy efficiency together.

Senate sponsors:
Rauschenberger, Steven J. 33rd District. R – Elgin.
Ronen, Carol. 9th District. D – Chicago.
Sullivan, Dave. 28th District. R – Mt. Prospect.
Halvorson, Debbie. 40th District. D – Crete.
del Valle, Miguel. 2nd District. D – Chicago

House sponsors:
Novak, J. Philip. 85th District. D – Bradley.
Currie, Barbara Flynn. 25th District. D – Chicago.
Hultgren, Randall M. 40th District. R – Wheaton.
Hamos, Julie. 18th District. D – Evanston.
status: passed both houses

SB1569 Amends the Public Utilities Act. ICC report on municipal aggregation of electric demand. Directs the Illinois Commerce Commission to report by January 15, 2003 on the consumer benefits of municipal and other forms of aggregation of electric demand. Permits units of local government to purchase aggregate customer usage data, and protects privacy of customers.

Senate sponsors:
Rauschenberger, Steven J. 33rd District. R – Elgin.
Ronen, Carol. 9th District. D – Chicago.
Sullivan, Dave. 28th District. R – Mt. Prospect.
Halvorson, Debbie. 40th District. D – Crete.
del Valle, Miguel. 2nd District. D – Chicago.

House sponsors:
Novak, J. Philip. 85th District. D – Bradley.
Currie, Barbara Flynn. 25th District. D – Chicago.
Hultgren, Randall M. 40th District. R – Wheaton.
Brunsvold, Joel. 72nd District. D – Milan.
status: passed both houses

SB1645 Renewable energy efficiency. Permits the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs to make grants for projects that use market incentives to encourage energy efficiency to benefit residential consumers.

Senate sponsors:
Rauschenberger, Steven J. 33rd District. R – Elgin.
Ronen, Carol. 9th District. D – Chicago.
Sullivan, Dave. 28th District. R – Mt. Prospect.
Halvorson, Debbie. 40th District. D – Crete.
del Valle, Miguel. 2nd District. D – Chicago

House sponsors:
Novak, J. Philip. 85th District. D – Bradley.
Currie, Barbara Flynn. 25th District. D – Chicago.
Smith, Michael K. 91st District. D – Canton.
Boland, Mike. 71st District. D – East Moline.
Yarbrough, Karen A. 7th District. D – Maywood.
status: passed both houses

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