Contractors and others expecting payments from a state green energy rebate program are in trouble now that the Illinois legislature has failed to pass a budget by the end of its spring session.
Illinois Energy Now is a six-year-old program that funds green energy upgrades for public buildings and low income housing.
The program does not rely on tax dollars—instead it’s funded by a small surcharge on utility bills.
But because of the way the program was written, it doesn’t work without a state budget. As WBEZ has previously reported, that’s left those who rely on the program to afford upgrades in a lurch since last summer.
Most of the money collected this last year for Illinois Energy Now — about $55 million — will return to ratepayers.
That means contractors like Chris Skokna, who runs Twin Supplies lighting company in Oak Brook, probably won’t get paid what the state owes him.
“I gotta keep moving. I can’t let the state control what happens to my company,” he said. “ I gotta keep busy, keep going after small business and the private sector.”
Illinois Energy Now has created or sustained about 20,000 jobs across the state since it started in 2008, according to the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center.