Today, Illinois State Senator Erica Harriss (56th-Glen Carbon) and State Representative Amy Elik (111th-Alton) joined their colleagues at the Illinois State Capitol to announce a bill to allocate $200 million in rebates to downstate families and businesses experiencing surges in their energy costs.
To provide immediate relief to consumers, some of whose energy bills have doubled since May of 2022, Sen. Harriss and Rep. Elik introduced identical legislation, Senate Bill 2200 and House Bill 2038, that releases $200 million from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide much-needed reimbursements to Ameren residential and small commercial customers experiencing higher bills.
“These rebates already passed the General Assembly, but as of today no money has been appropriated to pay Illinois families,” said Sen. Harriss. “I introduced this legislation to right this wrong and make good on these rebates the people deserve. This legislation is an immediate step in the right direction while we continue to work for long-term relief.”
The bill provides the appropriation needed to execute HB 4412 that passed the legislature in Lame Duck Session subject to appropriation.
“The legislation Senator Harriss and I have introduced would provide direct relief to residential and small businesses that are feeling the impact of higher utility rates,” said Rep. Elik. “Consumers are paying more for just about everything these days, with changes in energy policy affecting the cost of electricity and natural gas, we want to provide instant rate relief to our constituents burdened with higher utility rates.”
The rebates will provide the average household with around $170 in credits on their power bills. Sen. Harriss and Rep. Elik noted that families can’t wait until the 2023-24 budget, which takes effect July 1, 2023, and encouraged the General Assembly to pass a supplemental budget so customers can start receiving relief immediately.
Unlike LIHEAP, the appropriated rebates are not income-based and will go out to all Ameren customers.
“There are far too many families in our community being forced to choose between paying for utilities and paying for groceries,” said Sen. Harriss. “This is a choice our people should never have to make. While I recognize this rebate won’t be enough to conquer the long-term energy increases, it’s something we can do right now, today, to bring immediate relief. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in supporting this legislation and working for more comprehensive solutions to solving this energy crisis.”
Sen. Harriss and Rep. Elik are hopeful for more assistance from the Governor in his budget proposal on Wednesday, but will continue to work for immediate solutions, adding, “families can’t wait.”