In 2011, Peoples Gas began to replace 2,000 miles of pipelines below Chicago. Originally estimated to take 20 years and cost $2.6 billion, it is now projected to continue until 2040 and cost $7.7 billion. Interruptions have occurred due to “budget overruns, delays and charges of mismanagement”.
Many believe the project should be reviewed. By the time of completion, both gas and electric are anticipated to be very different from the systems we have now. Replacements are necessary to lower leaks and halt possible explosions as some pipes date back to the 1800s. However, costs have been passed along to customers. While Peoples has tried to keep those amounts down and minimize disruption in each neighborhood, consumers worry about paying their bills.
The Citizens Utility Board believes the focus should be on more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient alternatives such as electric-powered heat pumps. They want Peoples and the ICC to target and repair problem areas while pursuing their renewable energy goals.