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Urbana City Council Passes Resolution to Fight Electric Rate Hike

Urbana City Council passed a resolution last night to join an intergovernmental agreement to fight against AmerenIP’s rate hike. The council voted to revise the budget to include funds to protest in front of the Illinois Commerce Commission alongside other downstate Illinois cities.

According to Mayor Laurel Prussing, who laid out the issue last week in her “Mayor’s Report,” the electricity hike could cost the city more than $100,000 in street lighting alone. AmerenIP is currently proposing a 14 percent increase in rates over a two-year period along with an 11 percent increase in natural gas rates.

The city will be focusing on the street lighting issue as well as cost of service issues, Acting City Attorney Ronald O’Neal Jr. says. There are other groups such as Citizen’s Utility Board that will be attacking this case from other angles and advocating for the customer.

According to CUB, a non-profit utility watchdog group created by the Illinois Legislature, the rate hike specifically charges the delivery of electricity and natural gas to homes and makes up approximately one-third of the bill.

The City of Urbana, along with Champaign and other area towns, is currently fighting a potential increase to water rates for Illinois American Water Company customers also.

“We have higher than average water rates. Our rates are higher than publicly owned systems, and our electric rates are higher,” Prussing said during last week’s “Mayor’s Report.” “Both of those together are a drag on our economic growth.”

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