Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has reached two settlements totaling $18.5 million with Peoples Gas and its parent company to resolve investigations into its pipe replacement program.
"This settlement will benefit Peoples' customers who were misled about the true cost of this expensive project," Madigan said in a statement Tuesday. "I will continue to fight to overhaul the program, which still threatens the affordability of Peoples' gas service. Peoples Gas' customers already pay some of the highest utility rates in the Midwest, and they should not bear the burden of an unjustified and overpriced program."
The agreements were reached with People's Gas and its parent company, Integrys Energy Group, owned by WEC Energy Group Inc.
"The settlements stem from petitions filed last year by Madigan and the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) with the [Illinois Commerce Commission] following a shocking audit report that found Peoples' [Accelerated Main Replacement Program] could cost consumers $8 billion, an estimate the company now admits it withheld from the ICC in a hearing in advance of the ICC's approval of its 2015 merger with WEC," reads a statement from Madigan's office. "Prior to its merger with WEC, company executives estimated the cost of the program at $4.5 billion."
People's Gas released a statement about the settlements, saying the company "does not believe that it has committed any violations of the Illinois consumer fraud or false claims acts that were being investigated by the Illinois Attorney General."