PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Illinois lawmakers, energy experts, and advocates explored solutions for rising energy prices on Thursday.
With Ameren energy bills expected to increase by about $50 dollars per month beginning in June, leaders with the company said Illinois turning away from fossil fuels is a major factor.
“This is just a by-product of a national transition to clean energy that’s going on today,” said Jim Blessing, vice president of regulatory policy & energy supply at Ameren Illinois.
Thursday, an Illinois Public Utilities Committee held a hearing on the climbing energy costs.
“We have artificially throttled our ability to meet our needs. Whose looking out for us,” said Rep. Dan Caulkins, Illinois 101st District-(R).
Some of the speakers addressed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) signed into Illinois law last year. The law requires Illinois to have 100% clean energy by 2050, shuttering coal and gas-fired plants along the way.
“Illinois should work with the operators, FERC, and others to encourage these plants to remain open. Even if that means we have to amend CEJA to allow gas plants to operate without restriction until more renewables come online,” said Donovan Griffith, senior director of government affairs at the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
Due to capacity shortfalls, power grid operator MISO said they will likely use more of their emergency operating procedures this year.
“MISO will continue to implement the actions that may be necessary to prevent some sort of uncontrolled cascading outage,” said Melissa Seymour, executive director of external affairs for MISO.
Seymour said action must be taken to prevent the issue from growing.
“It’s likely to get worse before it gets better unless more capacity is built,” Seymour said.
Thursday, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that recipients of the low-income home energy assistance program will receive $200 dollars to help with rising costs. The deadline to apply is May 31st.