Peoples Gas is committed to modernizing Chicago’s natural gas delivery system
Providing gas service through one of the oldest delivery systems in the United States poses a significant reliability and safety risk for everyone in Chicago.
After reading Stephanie Zimmermann’s article “Gas bills hit Chicagoans hard,” I would like to provide some context and clarity on the challenges facing our customers and Peoples Gas during these uncertain times.
Natural gas prices are high throughout the world. In fact, prices have reached levels we have not seen in over a decade.
It is important to note, Peoples Gas does not profit from the cost of natural gas used to heat Chicago’s homes and businesses. The cost Peoples Gas pays is the cost consumers pay, with no markup.
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Fortunately, the State of Illinois — through Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity — has made millions of dollars available to Chicagoans who are struggling to pay utility bills. We have also worked to provide flexible pay options to eligible customers, including restrictions on disconnection and deferred payment arrangements. Peoples Gas continues to urge Chicagoans to take advantage of these programs to help ease the burden.
The assertion that the higher heating bills are due to our Safety Modernization Program (SMP) is completely false.
Peoples Gas remains committed to modernizing Chicago’s natural gas delivery system during an important transition to a cleaner energy future. The cast iron pipes running beneath our streets date back to the 1860s, from the days of President Abraham Lincoln.
Providing gas service through one of the oldest delivery systems in the United States poses a significant reliability and safety risk for everyone in Chicago. These old, leaky pipes are the reason for SMP — to replace the pipes with a modern, safe distribution network. A recent independent study ordered by the Illinois Commerce Commission concluded that over 80% of the iron pipes beneath the feet of Chicagoans — across every neighborhood — have an average remaining life of 15 years.
Enabling Peoples Gas to complete this essential work will ensure reliability and safety and position Chicago to advance a clean energy future, where hydrogen and renewable gas may someday heat our homes and businesses during the coldest days of the year.
Charles Matthews, president and CEO, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas
A wake-up call
Last weekend, we hit 83 degrees and got a taste of summer weather. We also had seven killed and 37 wounded, which may be a taste of summer violence. If we’re going to keep our children and communities safe this summer, we must plan how and what to put in place.
Every home, block and neighborhood needs to unite and decide what they will do to aggressively prevent violence. Every church, synagogue and mosque must announce what they will do outside their doors to offer young people alternatives and impact the community. Elected officials, police and social service agencies must decide what aggressive steps they will take to bring peace. City, county and state government, and law enforcement leaders, must implement creative and proven ways to eradicate violence and make peace.
Weather experts give us instructions to prepare for a storm. Well, a storm is possibly headed our way this summer. We can prevent it and protect our children, elders and families, but it will demand immediate action, alternatives, prevention and intervention. If we fail to use last weekend as a wake-up call, then the blood is on all our hands.
Our children have a right to live.
Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, senior pastor, The Faith Community of Saint Sabina