Today, the Illinois Commerce Commission is expected to rule on the record breaking Peoples Gas rate hike. It could also make decisions regarding the primary driver of the rate hike: its troubled pipe replacement program.
And yesterday, Peoples Gas published its third quarter report on the program, revealing that the program was once again over budget and behind schedule. Since quarterly reporting on the program began in 2018, the program has been over budget every year, and behind schedule every quarter.
The program’s progress this year is particularly poor – having only replaced 29.7 miles of pipe through the end of September. That’s a lower than any third quarter result since quarterly reporting began.
Finally, the report showed how much customers are being forced to pay for the program through the “QIP” surcharge. Over the quarter, average residential customers paid $17.43 per month for the program. That’s more than 15 times as much the $1.14 per month the legislature was told the program would cost customers when it approved the QIP law in 2013.
Thankfully, the QIP law is expiring at the end of the year. We’ve called on the Commission to take decisive action in the current rate case to implement immediate reforms to the program – we’ll provide more updates later today once the Commission releases its final decision.