Monday, December 05, 2005

CORE Denounces Misinformation Campaign by CUB; Says New Attack Ads Are Merely 'Scare Tactics'

CHICAGO, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity (CORE) today derided new attempts by the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and its coalition to mislead consumers, restating its concerns about a potential Illinois energy crisis similar to the one that crippled California’s economy.
CORE, a group of Illinois business, labor and civic leaders and organizations, reiterated its position that extending the electric utility rate freeze created by state law in 1997 would force ComEd and Ameren into a "buy high, sell low" situation similar to what happened in California in 2000. Under the 1997 Illinois law, investor-owned utilities must buy energy in the open market beginning in 2007.
In California, officials failed to allow local utilities to enter long-term power purchase contracts. Utilities were forced to buy power on the spot market at a time when their Legislature artificially froze utility rates. The result was utility bankruptcy that required a $10 billion taxpayer bailout, power disruptions that cost California businesses $21 billion and an estimated loss of 135,000 jobs.
"What we need is a thoughtful, realistic plan to buy energy —- one that won't run our utility companies into the ground," said Avis LaVelle, CORE spokesperson. "A wide array of 14 groups –- including CUB -– came together last year to determine the best way for utilities to purchase power. The Illinois Commerce Commission staff -– the experts on this issue -– have endorsed that competitive bid process."
CORE has previously expressed its support of that process, which would require multiple companies to compete to sell power to the utilities at the lowest possible price. As a coalition of concerned parties that represent a variety of interests, CORE has said it is working to solve the issue positively and proactively.
"Every time CUB and its supporters speak on this issue, they try to frighten already -- worried consumers by using hugely inflated numbers about potential rate increases. They need to stop trying to create fear and work on creating a solution if they really want to solve this issue," LaVelle said. "It's easy to criticize and attack -- but where is their viable plan? CORE has clearly endorsed the competitive bid process. If CUB wants to actually represent consumers as it claims to do, they should come forth with a realistic solution of their own."
CORE is a coalition of business, labor, community and energy groups that support the preservation of reliable electricity, the transition of the industry to competition and energy decisions made by the experts at the Illinois Commerce Commission. CORE's Advisory Committee members represent more than 100,000 businesses and more than 1 million individuals across Illinois.
For more information, visit the CORE Web site at


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