SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) joined with several Republican legislators Feb. 14 to address the rising cost of energy impacting downstate Illinois families and businesses and to call for immediate action to provide relief.
“The Governor and the General Assembly have an immediate obligation to the families and businesses of our districts to address a problem that we warned would be coming when the ‘extreme green’ energy bill was passed,” Sen. Tracy said. “We have a crisis – a 90 percent increase in families’ power bills since last May.”
Sen. Tracy said she hopes Gov. JB Pritzker’s Budget Address on Feb. 15 will include long-term solutions to energy concerns, but she is taking matters into her own hands now by sponsoring a pair of bills to address the need for greater energy capacity and supply.
Senate Bill 1548 will cut burdensome regulatory “red tape” at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which has prevented new power plants from coming online in a timely manner. Senate Bill 1547 will create the Power Grid Task Force, which requires the General Assembly to look at the impacts that energy policies are having on Illinois’ ability to produce the required amount of energy to meet Illinois’ needs.
“We must start addressing these issues right now. There are families in downstate communities who can’t afford to pay their increased heating bills and put food on the table,” said Sen. Tracy. “We need more energy investments in the Governor’s budget, and we also need to look at ways we can fill the demand of the grid so that consumer prices naturally go down.”
Sen. Tracy also supports Senate Bill 2200, which would allocate $200 million in rebates to affected consumers. The Legislature approved an Ameren rate relief package during last month’s lame-duck session that would provide the average household with $170 in rate relief. The rate relief would be broken up into monthly bill credits likely occurring from April through October. The program is subject to appropriation, and it has not been funded.
While Illinoisans await action on legislative measures to address energy costs and grid supply, legislators will be sending a letter to Gov. Pritzker requesting the filing of emergency rulemaking procedures to dump more power into the grid markets and revised permit procedures to fast-track the development of natural gas plants.