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Investigation of Electricity Price Spike

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Consumers who buy their electricity from alternative energy providers have been seeing some price hikes lately.

The Citizens Utility Board said the rate spikes are a recent trend in the four years of open competition in Illinois. It’s asking state regulators to look into it. 

CUB Executive Director David Kolata thought the companies were unnecessarily trying to pass their extra costs from the harsh winter onto the customer.

“They maybe made some wrong bets on their portfolio -- how they put it together and they are just trying to recover those costs from consumers. In a sense, putting them on bills anywhere they can,” said Kolata.

Kolata said it’s not normal to see consumer prices six times higher than the utility price.  

He said it's affecting customers who have variable rate contracts and is happening at a time the price of electricity is cheap. 

Kolata hoped Illinois Commerce Commission regulators order refunds for customers.

Harvest Public Media’s reporter in Springfield, Ill., comes to Harvest with a background of covering state government and rural issues. For the past eight years, Bill was general manager of public radio station WUIS in Springfield. Prior to that, he spent a decade as State Capitol bureau chief for Illinois Public Radio. During his time in the Illinois statehouse Bill won several awards including Best Investigative Reporter from the Associated Press and Best Statehouse Beat Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors in 2004. Bill also spent eight years as News Director at WIUM public radio in Macomb, Ill., and is a past president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.