Rep. Meier: Sierra Club lawsuit could result in higher electricity rates

A recent lawsuit filed on March 22 by Sierra Club Illinois could increase electricity rates depending on the outcome in court. The lawsuit seeks to close Illinois’ largest producer of electricity in the state, Prairie State Energy Campus (Prairie State) located in southern Illinois. If Sierra Club is successful, electricity rates will skyrocket.

An instant shutdown of Prairie State would leave 36 municipalities and 20 electric cooperatives in the state with $4 billion in debt to pay by Illinois taxpayers and drastically result in higher electricity rates.

Sierra Club Illinois has taken a reckless political maneuver to circumvent current state and federal law. They often refer to Prairie State as its largest producer of pollution, they never state it is by far the largest energy producer in the state. Their frivolous lawsuit endangers the lives and prosperity of many Illinois residents in a region that struggles to keep the power on for hospitals, schools, nursing homes, manufacturers, farms, and even the oxygen machine for hospice patients in their own homes.

Most city blocks in southern Illinois don’t even have the infrastructure to charge four electric cars at one time and there is not enough energy on the power grid to charge a million electric cars, which is Sierra Club’s wish.

The power plant Sierra Club Illinois is trying to close has provided more than 2.5 million families with electricity on behalf of municipalities and cooperatives since 2012. These families are located throughout territories that include eight states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

Let us not forget as lawmakers debated the last energy bill, supporters of the new law said electric rates would only go up $14 a month, how has that worked out for southern Illinois? I voted no on this electricity rate hike.

Many homeowners contact my office concerning the doubling of their power bills already. I also hear small businesses, grocery stores, and restaurants have closed because of the increase in their electricity costs.

Let’s hope the courts protect our rights to heat and air condition our homes, including the other seven states that depend on the power produced by Prairie State. If Sierra Club Illinois is successful with their frivolous lawsuit, then electric rates which have almost doubled in the last couple of years may double again.

If you would like to share your opinion on high electricity rates as a result of state policy. You may submit your opinion to the Illinois Power Agency at


Charlie Meier
State Representative, 109th District