March 24, 2023: In a win for the climate, public health, and ratepayers in Illinois, on Thursday the Illinois Commerce Commission approved beneficial electrification plans filed by the two largest utilities in Illinois -- Ameren and Commonwealth Edison -- including more than $250 million in utility investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next three years. This victory is the result of sustained advocacy by Sierra Club and our allies.
The beneficial electrification plans were required by the 2021 passage of Illinois' Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (often called CEJA), and comprise a suite of programs designed to reduce transportation-related emissions, benefit all ratepayers, and prioritize investments in charging infrastructure in disadvantaged communities.
With continued engagement from stakeholders pushing for an effective and equitable clean energy future, the BE plans – and future iterations of these initial plans -- should prove to be an effective part of the state's electrification toolbox.
Sierra Club's Illinois Chapter led a coalition of conservation, labor, faith, and environmental justice organizations in a year-long stakeholder process leading up to the filing of the utilities' plans. Once the beneficial electrification plans were filed, Sierra Club's Environmental Law Program, along with allies at EDF and NRDC, led the coalition's legal advocacy before the Illinois Commerce Commission, ensuring the plans (1) prioritized spending in low-income and minority neighborhoods, (2) included investments in building electrification, and (3) were approved at a scale that meets the climate crisis and will lead to meaningful and rapid advancement in clean transportation opportunities in Illinois.
Sierra Club's participation in these dockets was led by Senior Attorney Nathaniel Shoaff, and included partnerships with EDF, NRDC, Respiratory Health Association, and Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO).