CHICAGO — Gas bills will be going up in Chicago, but consumer advocates are applauding the scaled-back plan.

Peoples and North Shore Gas customers can expect higher bills, but a decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission cut back on some of the companies requests.

“The residential customers nowadays are paying $50 in fixed costs before they even use any gas and a lot of this is the result of Peoples Gas mismanaged pipeline replacement program,” Sarah Moskowitz said.

Moskowitz is the Executive Director of the Citizens Utility Board, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group fights for better policies and lower utility rates in the state.

She said the initial $400 million request from Peoples Gas to increase rates was unnecessary.
Moskowitz said cleaner and more affordable options have been developing, which make this decision by the ICC a win for consumers.

“They really sent a signal that this is not going to be a return to business as usual and they’re going to hold the utilities accountable,” Moskowitz said. “Even though this represents an increase for gas customers across the state, it could have been much worse.”

The decision cuts 34 percent from North Shore Gas’ initial request and 25 percent from Peoples Gas.

A statement from the company said:

“Peoples Gas will fully review the final order to determine its impact on our customers and operations. We look forward to actively participating in future proceedings and demonstrating how our energy delivery system is critical to Chicago’s clean energy future. We are pleased the Commission shares our concern about safety.”