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Illinois has been a national leader in energy policy for the last 20 years. 

Electric Restructuring  -  Late 1990's

Starting in the 1990's many customers became interested in shopping for their own electric supply.  By 1997 Illinois had approved electric deregulation that kept electric utilities as regulated delivery companies but allowed the power plants to operate on the free market.  Restructuring brought billions of dollars in efficiencies and savings to the State.

Modernizing Utility Regulation to Focus on Customer Benefits

From 2009 -2013 Illinois passed a series of measures that modernized regulations to benefit customers.  Utilities implemented comprehensive energy efficiency programs, adopted new reliability standards and deployed smart grid technology.  

Market Based Rates - Investing in Renewable Energy  2007

Switching from regulated to market rates was phased in over a decade. At the end of the transition period many residential customers found that the market did not offer them the products they had become accustomed to. In response Illinois implemented a series of rate relief policies to soften the transition. Policies were also implemented for municipal aggregation and to require significant investments in renewable energy.

Modernizing Electric Generation Policy Future Energy Jobs

In 2016 Illinois modernized policies for electric generation. Efforts to improve energy efficiency and expand renewable energy were dramatically increased. These policies establish the framework for preserving baseload generation while increasing renewable energy.



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How We Built the Most Complex
Machine in the World
Thomas Edison And Electric Service

Thomas Edison built the first power station designed to serve customers. The Pearl Street Station was built around 1880 in Manhattan. It provided service to 59 customers. From that humble beginning, an industry grew that transformed, powered, and lit the world.

Samuel Insull, Chicago Edison, And The Economies Of Scale

Samuel Insull revolutionized the electric industry by deploying two new technologies together. Insull invested in new steam turbines that could produce a lot more power at lower costs and alternating current transformers that could efficiently move electricity greater distances. With these new technologies Insull consolidated 20 different electric companies in Chicago, forming Commonwealth Edison in 1907. From the beginning, ComEd was recognized as one of the most progressive and lowest cost utilities in the world.

State Regulation Creates The
First Electric Public Utilities

As electric technology developed, it became clear that the economies of scale and large capital requirements made the industry a natural monopoly. Wisconsin and New York were the first to provide a regulatory compact for electric companies. Companies were offered monopoly status in exchange for an obligation to serve all customers at just and reasonable rates.

Moving Beyond

The Traditional Grid

Over the last 100 years the electric power industry has built the interconnected transmission grid into the most complicated machine in the world. The electric power industry is investing in Smart Grid, transportation electrification, renewable energy, and energy efficiency to move the industry forward for another century.



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Powering the Illinois Economy

Electric Generation,
Transmission, And Distribution

Accounting for 5% of the economy, the electric power industry provides 103,000 direct jobs with 286,000 total jobs supported and induced. With $4.2 billion annually invested in Illinois infrastructure, the electric power industry is essential to the State.

Powering Jobs, Careers And

The electric power industry has created quality jobs in every corner of Illinois. On average the industry pays over $100,000 a year. Veterans are a significant portion of all new hires, and billions of dollars have been spent to support diversity and inclusion.

Generating Investments And Innovation

Generation companies have invested billions of dollars in Illinois to make the State the 5th largest generation State in the country. Meanwhile, the electric utilities have invested billions in new Smart Grid technology to make the State a leader in innovation and efficiency.

Generating Support For Government And Communities
Throughout Illinois

The electric power industry and its suppliers in Illinois pay over $3.7 billion a year in taxes. The electric power industry is one of the largest taxpaying industries in Illinois and pays taxes in

every municipality in the State.



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The Investments
that Power Illinois

Baseload Generation, Ensuring Reliable And Affordable Energy

Designed to run almost all the time, baseload is provided by large plants using thermal energy to generate electricity. Nuclear and coal make up the majority of baseload generation in Illinois. No current technology can replace baseload generation.


Peaking generation is designed to run for short periods of time to meet the most extreme demand changes throughout the day. These plants can be quickly dispatched and provide power on a moments notice. Most peaking plants are powered by natural gas in Illinois.

Intermediate Generation

Unlike baseload, intermediate generation is designed to turn on and off throughout the year to accommodate predictable and seasonal changes in demand. Natural gas and coal make up most of Illinois' intermediate generation.

Intermittent Generation,

Intermittent generation is designed to minimize the environmental impact of electric generation. It relies upon environmental conditions to provide power. When available, intermittent generation helps to control cost at peak times and provide for a cleaner and healthier environment.

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