Concerns Raised: Older Adults Struggle with Affordability of Increased Gas Bills

No retiree ever should have to decide between heating their home or buying groceries. It’s what has happened to many older Chicagoans who are on fixed incomes and have seen their gas costs skyrocket over the past few years. Peoples Gas customers had already fallen hundreds of millions behind in their bills before the pandemic. The problem was only exacerbated by inflation, as well as the cost of essentials.

According to Steve Daniels, the recent Illinois Commerce Commission report (ICC), commissioners are finally raising concerns about Peoples Gas’ multi-billion dollar, decades-long program of infrastructure modernization that critics have been opposing for years.


AARP Illinois believes that the ICC ruling will help older adults in our city age with dignity and safety.

AARP Illinois has raised the voices of ratepayers for years. We have heard the heartbreaking stories of thousands of members in Chicago whose gas bills doubled and forced them to cut back on their groceries, prescriptions, and other necessities just to keep their homes at a minimum temperature.

Peoples Gas has continued to increase rates despite a blank check that was given to them a decade ago for modifications to their gas pipeline infrastructure. This project, which is over budget and late every year since its approval, has caused the increases. Peoples Gas has now requested a rate hike of $402 million, which is the biggest increase the company has ever proposed.

This blank check will expire at the end this year. For the first time in a ten-year period, the ICC that reviews utility proposals is giving it a fresh, encouraging look.

Ratepayers and their supporters are waiting with bated breathe to see if the ICC will listen to their cries.

The ICC must hold Peoples Gas responsible for the negative impact of its overpriced gas program on the most vulnerable residents in our city and place ratepayers at the forefront.

Philippe Leargent, the state director for AARP Illinois.