PEORIA (25 News Now) – Energy bills continue to be a source of stress for consumer as rates remain at their doubled high from earlier this summer.

State Representative Jehan Gordon Booth partnered with the Citizens Utility Board and the Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity on sharing tips and ways to cut down on energy costs.

CUB is the consumer voice for all utility policy decisions. They are a non-profit representing consumer interests in Springfield. They informed customers today of their options for cutting utility bill costs on their end. However, all the cost saving and conservation efforts don’t change the increased rate of electricity.

The Kilo-Watt hour rate has nearly doubled since earlier this summer, right now Ameren’s rates hang around 10 cents per kWh, it’s previously been around three to four cents per kWh.

Gordon-Booth said the General Assembly is working on legislation to address high energy costs. She thought it could happen in a special session, but said the policy is likely to come up in veto session in November. She could not say what exactly the potential legislation would do.

“The General Assembly is working on those matters,” Gordon Booth said. “There was more work to be done.”

In the meantime, PCCEO helped citizens apply for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to pay electric bills to qualifying residents. To qualify, the applicant must be at least 200% below the poverty line in income for the number of people in their household.

Applications open September 1, though the application can be filled out early. PCCEO can’t start processing or reviewing the application until Sept. 1. However, they recommend applying immediately because once funds run out, they’re gone.

“You want to get them in so we can beg for some more money,” Energy Services Manager Anisha Hughes said to residents. If funds are used up quickly, PCCEO can ask for more assistance to give out to more applicants instead of turning them away.

“Our goal is not to hold on to the money,” she continued. “Our goal is to assist each and every one of you.”

For those who don’t qualify for LIHEAP, CUB recommends going to Ameren and seeing what assistance programs are available. They can be found using the Ameren portal as well as whether or not the customer qualifies.

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