Dec 13, 2022 - News

Illinois lags in energy efficiency despite new law

Illustration of America as a power strip with multiple electric sockets across the nation, there are a few plugs in sockets.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Despite passing a groundbreaking environmental law called CEJA last year, Illinois still lags behind many other states on energy efficiency policies, according to a new scorecard by climate advocacy organization ACEEE.

  • Illinois ranked 16th best this year, slipping from 15th and 11th in two previous years.

Why it matters: Policies can drive real change, and Gov. JB Pritzker has vowed to make the state a climate leader.

Highs and lows: Top scores went to California and Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Maine; Kansas and Wyoming ranked worst.

Zoom in: Illinois got props for passing CEJA (the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act) but lost points for piling on new licensing and registration fees for electric-vehicle owners.

  • Our state also got dinged for not joining 17 other states in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that calls for all new sales of trucks and buses to be zero emission by 2050.
  • But Illinois got its biggest demerits because our utilities allow big commercial and industrial facilities to opt out of energy efficiency programs.
  • Scorecard researcher Sagarika Subramanian noted to the Tribune those facilities have "the potential to really bring about a lot of savings."

Yes but: Subramanian also predicted that our score will improve in coming years as we implement more CEJA provisions.

What you can do: If you have opinions on those new fees for EV users, you can contact state legislators and the Secretary of State’s Office.


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