Many Chicagoans Can’t Afford Their Heating Bills
Despite the fact that last year was not particularly cold, at least by Chicago standards, far fewer customers paid their heating bills. In 2017, so-called “customer non-payments” to Peoples Gas totaled $58.2 million dollars. That was up from $26.5 million in 2016. Remember the polar vortex? That was back in 2014. For that year, the uncollectible bills stood at $37 million.
So, what’s going on here? Crain’s Chicago Business senior reporter dug into the numbers and concluded that what we’re seeing is the start of a heating affordability crisis in Chicago. Peoples has been pouring money into capital spending to replace aging gas mains, and as a result, it has levied more and more surcharges on customers, surcharges that many Chicagoans cannot afford. Morning Shift talks to Steve Daniels about Peoples Gas.