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Pritzker signs executive orders to keep utilities from being cut off

Expanded measures will grant billing relief to almost 80,000 current and former Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, customers.
Gov. Pritzker on Thursday signed two executive orders related to climate and consumers for...
Gov. Pritzker on Thursday signed two executive orders related to climate and consumers for Earth Day.(Associated Press)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 5:42 PM CDT
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pritzker on Thursday signed two executive orders related to climate and consumers for Earth Day.

The Governor’s office said the orders pave the way for a new state Utility Disconnection Avoidance Program to provide $80 million in assistance for households to avoid disconnections, and a State Fleet Working Group that will push toward low- and zero-emission vehicles for purchase and lease by state government.

The Governor’s office noted that Illinois is a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance and is working to meet Paris Climate Agreement targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

“The urgent need to address climate change, revitalize our state, and create jobs means that now is the time to transition to a clean energy economy, and this Earth Day, I’m taking action to protect our residents and the environment,” Pritzker said in a news release. “By expanding assistance for Illinois utility customers, we’re making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of customers at risk for disconnection right now – and by redirecting Illinois’ fleet of vehicles to prioritize low-emission and zero-emission vehicles, we’re setting the next generation of residents up for a better future. My administration is committed to making Illinois a leader in a clean energy and an equitable economy, and I’m proud to take another step toward fulfilling that mission.”

One of the executive orders Pritzker signed on Thursday was Executive Order 2021-07, which suspends two elements of the Illinois Clean Energy Act to as to expand the use for emergency relief dollars for Illinois utility customers at risk of having their service disconnected. There had been a moratorium on disconnections this past winter, but it is now over.

In addition to paving the way for the Utility Disconnection Avoidance Program, the expanded measures will grant billing relief to almost 80,000 current and former Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, customers, the Governor’s office said.

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