Electricity rates to rise 38% in June - still low

Posted on Tue, 05/27/2014 - 12:51pm

By Bob Whaley

electricity rate increase“Skyrocketing electric bills!” Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has just warned us that, due to the harsh winter, electricity prices in Illinois will rise 38% in June – from 5.5 to 7.596 cents per KWH. Before everyone gets too excited about this “horrendous” rise in electricity costs here, check out the pricing of Pacific Gas & Electric in Southern California. (Schedules: www.pge.com/tariffs/electric.shtml) Note the “Average Total Rate per KWHr = 0.19133 or 250% of what we will pay after the increase(!). When we still lived in San Diego in 1990, we paid about 11 cents/KWH. Heating and minimal air conditioning in that mild climate cost us over $300/month.

When we moved to Portland, Oregon that year, I was very pleased to see that electricity rates were less than half of those in Southern California. One main reason for that was that, when the Bonneville Dam and generating plants were built, they were declared by President Roosevelt to be for the use of the residents along the Columbia River.

When we moved to Chicago in 2002, I expected utility prices to be much higher than in Oregon, but was again pleasantly surprised to find that they were not much higher at all.

So, the bad news is that energy costs are rising rapidly here. The good new is that this should mitigate itself at some time, and that we still pay only about 40% of the Southern California rates for electricity.

NOTES about Citizens Utility Board | “Mission: When the Illinois General Assembly created CUB in 1983, it gave the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization a clear mission: to represent the interests of residential utility customers across the state. The statute directs CUB to carry out that mission by intervening in ratemaking proceedings before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), in the courts and before other public bodies and by providing consumers with information and assistance regarding their utility companies.”

For information about CUB, call 800-669-5556. www.citizensutilityboard.org