Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas Bills to Increase in February

Illinois Commerce Commission votes 3-1 Wednesday to approve rate hikes requested by utility companies

Customers of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas will see higher rates beginning with their February bills thanks to a hike approved Wednesday by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

For Peoples Gas, the $74.8 million rate hike was the utility's second in fewer than two years and will increase monthly gas bills by up to $2.75. The company had initially requested a $129 million increase.

“The ICC's decision allows for a moderate increase in rates to recover our cost increases," Peoples Gas said in a statement.

North Shore Gas received a $3.7 million hike, meaning customers will pay up to $1.10 more each month. The company requested an increase of $7 million.

"[The Citizens Utility Board] is pleased that the ICC reduced the company’s rate-hike request by more than 30 percent, but that’s cold comfort to consumers trying to pay the bills through another expensive winter," CUB Chairman David Kolata said in a statement released after the commission's action.

Commissioners voted 3-1 to approve the increases. ICC Commissioner Miguel del Valle voted against the hike, and it the vote was the first action for newly-installed Brien Sheahan, who was a key advisor to Gov. Bruce Rauner's campaign. The ICC was down two members because the terms of chairmen Doug Scott and John Colgan end Jan. 20.

Kolata said the CUB would seek for a rehearing to challenge portions of the rate increase.

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