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Springfield, IL — Thanks to the increased production, expanded pipeline infrastructure and greater use of natural gas, Illinois’ families and businesses saved more than $24 billion between 2007 and 2017 because of lower prices, according to a new state report released by Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA). Households saved over $11 billion and commercial and industrial users saved more than $13.8 billion, according to the report, entitled “Powering the Way for a More Vibrant Illinois.”

Energy helps power every imaginable American industry, and during this time of increased economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 virus, this new report helps to remind us of exactly why we need to have a balanced energy policy and how affordable, reliable energy supplies of natural gas matters for hard-hit families and businesses.

Unfortunately, some states and cities have been considering harmful policies for communities, households and those struggling to make ends meet by eliminating the use of affordable natural gas. CEA’s report highlights the incredible savings consumers have enjoyed with enhanced supplies – which depend on safe, secure, and reliable pipelines in Illinois – and the importance of those economic benefits during this time of economic uncertainty.

The analysis, developed with calculations by Orion Strategies, details how natural gas and energy infrastructure has helped Illinois increase disposable income for consumers, job growth, and economic investment while revitalizing communities – all important ingredients for our pandemic recovery. It also details how important natural gas is for home heating in Illinois – providing some 80 percent of households with the energy they’ll need next winter. It also ensures energy delivery options to communities across the state.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Natural gas is the clear choice in Illinois for household heating, with 80 percent of the state’s households using it to warm their homes during the winter.
  • Nationwide availability and increased production of natural gas has enabled Illinois consumers to save more than $24 billion between 2007 and 2017. Residential users alone saved over $11 billion, and commercial and industrial users saved more than $13.8 billion combined. This translates to $876 for every citizen of the state over that time period.
  • On average, each resident of Illinois spent $3,168 to meet their energy needs in 2017. With 12 percent of the population living at or below the poverty line, this translates to about one-quarter of their income going toward energy expenses. Affordable, safe and abundant natural gas means only 16 percent, or $528, of their total 2017 energy expenditures is on natural gas. Natural gas savings like this will be especially important during the recovery for our economically disadvantaged communities, as well as those with low or fixed incomes, and the more than one million unemployed people across the state.
  • Misguided attempts to force an electrification mandate on Illinois households could cost upwards of $9,000 in appliance replacements, wiring, and construction costs – which is a crippling burden in these economically challenging times.
  • The state’s vital $19 billion agribusiness industry is heavily reliant on natural gas to grow, harvest and dry crops for use across the Midwest and the nation.
  • Manufacturing is an important sector of the state’s economy, and natural gas plays a critical role in keeping factories moving. This industry contributed $108 billion to the state’s economy in 2018, and employs nearly 10 percent of the state’s workforce.

“This report demonstrates how Illinois’ families, farmers and small businesses benefit from an all-of-the-above energy strategy that continues to emphasize the importance of natural gas in benefiting Illinois – especially during these uncertain economic times for our communities,” CEA Midwest Director Chris Ventura said.

“Whether through business, commerce, harvesting, or home use, when we turn on our lights and our heaters next winter, we all depend on energy. It’s also essential component to an economic recovery. That’s why supporting smart choices that maintain and expand natural gas use can help lower energy costs for cash-strapped families and small businesses in Illinois that are facing financial hardships, while also providing stronger opportunities for manufacturers and businesses to create jobs for the more than a million Illinoisans who are in desperate need of them.”

“Even during our recovery from the global pandemic, we are still seeing activists attack and try to stop natural gas use without providing any real alternative or solution to meet their energy needs. It’s a false choice to assert that we can only have energy development or environmental stewardship – natural gas use is driving down consumer costs and helping us lower our emissions footprint at the same time. We need to stop picking winners and losers and instead support U.S. energy in all forms while we continue to advance our environmental standards – it’s key to us being prepared and having the energy we need.”

To view the report, click here.