Executive Director
Energy Council


March 5, 2018

This is the last week the House is in session before the primary break.  They are scheduled to return April 9th.  The Senate is the only Chamber in next week.

Chairman Thapedi has indicated that House Public Utilities will be canceling its hearing today (if it hasn't already by the time this is sent.)

There were a number of bills posted for committee, a few to note: HB4898 offered by Representative Guzzardi would effectively prohibit utilities from applying a surcharge for cost recovery.  This applies only to utilities in northern Illinois serving under one million customers, however northern Illinois is not geographically defined.  We oppose this bill as it would slow natural gas infrastructure improvements and negatively impact customers. 

HB5101 offered by Representative Evans would effectively limit both gas and electric retail energy choice to suppliers serving customers through municipal aggregation programs.  This would also limit businesses who use electricity choice.  We oppose this legislation as well.

House Environment will likely cancel as well.  None of the bills posted are expected to be called.  For reference,  HR123 and HB5198 were posted.  HR123 encourages pipeline companies to have an independent study done, before any new pipeline is laid or product moves through existing pipe, to determine the effects of fossil fuels on climate change.  We are opposed.  HB5198 allows for plastics to be converted back to crude oil and other useful products. 

Representative Moeller has also introduced HB5564, which is posted to House Judiciary Civil Committee for Wednesday morning at 8a but we are told it will not move this week.  Most bills in this Committee are always referred and considered at the subcommittee level first.  The bill would require compensation to be determined by a jury trial before access is given to land in eminent domain cases for certain industries.  

Last year, Representative Moeller has a similar bill that was considered in a Judiciary-Civil subcommittee but failed.  That bill was ultimately amended to carve out most industries, except pipelines companies.  The Chamber has drafted an opposition one-pager on HB5564 and continues to collect signatories.  If any members would like to sign on, please let me know.

Finally, Wednesday afternoon at 4p, the House Energy Committee is holding a subject matter hearing on German Energy Policy.

Illinois EPA Releases Volkswagen Settlement Draft Plan

As a result of a nationwide settlement against Volkswagen, Illinois is the beneficiary of $108 million through the VW Settlement Mitigation Trust to fund mobile source projects and are to be used for projects that reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides in Illinois.  The Illinois EPA has released its draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan for public review and is accepting public comment on the plan until April 13th.

The plan proposed to spend up to 65% ($70.5 million) on off-road projects like locomotives, tugs and ferries; up to 20% ($20.7 million) for on-road projects, including local freight trucks and school and transit buses; and up to 10% ($10.8 million) for electric school buses. Another 5% would go to administrative costs.  The plan also describes the variety of ways electric vehicle infrastructure is supported through the plan.

The Illinois Chamber issued a release in support of the draft plan.  President and CEO Todd Maisch said in a statement the plan was "balanced approach to policy that encourages business growth with smart environmental investment."

Illinois Commerce Commission Releases MISO Stakeholder Feedback

The ICC released its 164-page report summary of stakeholder feedback from the MISO Zone 4 workshop that began in November 2017.  The report summarizes comments received by the ICC during the two workshop sessions and response to those meetings.  The Illinois Chamber offered comments during the pre-workshop stage.  The document is roughly a direct report of the comments provided and offers no suggestions or conclusions from the ICC. 

The Governor's office has also requested the ICC update its white paper with the post-workshop understanding of where resource a dequacy stands in Zone-4 and provide its assessment of the comments received, as well as provide a technical understanding of the potential policy solutions by early April.  

Illinois women are Second to No One. On March 27, 2018 join the Illinois Chamber of Commerce at our inaugural conference to harness the experiences, leadership, and aspirations of women in business, politics, and the nonprofit world to explore what it takes to put more cracks in that glass ceiling. Hear from inspiring women who've been through it and take away that energy to blaze your own path. This conference aims to empower our already Strong Women for a Stronger Illinois.

Check out the agenda! It's a heck of a line-up and panels. 


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