As members and allies of the Illinois Energy Efficiency For All (IL EEFA) coalition, we submit these comments to urge additional action to protect Illinois families during and in the recovery period following the COVID-19 pandemic. IL EEFA’s work focuses on making affordable housing healthy, affordable, and energy efficient in Illinois. For the past six years, the coalition has collaborated on work in the affordable housing, financing, utility, regulatory, state agency, clean energy advocacy, energy efficiency, health, environmental justice, and low-income advocacy arenas.
We are concerned about Illinois residents whose access to essential utility services have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Prior to this pandemic, many Illinois families were living with the burden of water, electric, and/or gas service shut-offs due to an inability to pay already. Now we are seeing a widespread loss of jobs and wages across the state. As a result, the number of residents who can no longer afford utility payments is growing. Access to these utility services is essential to the containment of the virus and the protection of our communities, such as running water for handwashing and a healthy, safe home to shelter in.