(WSIL) -- Recognizing Earth Day, Governor JB Pritzker signed two Executive Orders Thursday.
The orders pave the way for a new Utility Disconnection Avoidance Program to provide $80 million in assistance to households to avoid disconnections, and a State Fleet Working Group that will move the state towards low-emission and zero-emission vehicles for future purchases and leases.
“The urgent need to address climate change, revitalize our state, and create jobs means that now is the time to transition to a clean energy economy, and this Earth Day, I’m taking action to protect our residents and the environment,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “By expanding assistance for Illinois utility customers, we’re making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of customers at risk for disconnection right now – and by redirecting Illinois’ fleet of vehicles to prioritize low-emission and zero-emission vehicles, we’re setting the next generation of residents up for a better future. My administration is committed to making Illinois a leader in a clean energy and an equitable economy, and I’m proud to take another step toward fulfilling that mission.”
Executive Order 2021-07
Executive Order 2021-07, temporarily suspends two provisions of the Illinois Energy Assistance Act, expanding the use of available emergency relief dollars for Illinois utility customers currently at risk of service disconnections following the end of the winter moratorium, and maximizing the number of households eligible for relief.
The expanded assistance measures will grant billing relief for nearly 80,000 current and former Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) customers currently at risk for disconnection and prevent service shutoffs due to a consumer’s inability to pay.
Illinoisans eligible for UDAP may receive a one-time credit of at least $250 up to a maximum of $5,000 for each eligible utility account. Families eligible for UDAP benefits include those who are currently on a utility disconnection list based on arrearages, as well as those who have received state energy assistance through LIHEAP or PIPP between October 1, 2018 and June 30, 2021.
Executive Order 2021-08
Executive Order 2021-08 ensures future vehicles purchased or leased by the State of Illinois, to the extent possible, will be low-emission and zero-emission vehicles. The order also establishes a State Fleet Working Group comprised of representatives from different agencies within the administration that will lead the effort and take steps to procure and encourage the use of electric vehicles for state employees and the general public.
The State Fleet Working Group will be led by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) and will include the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).
In the coming months, the working group will begin efforts to reduce emissions from the transportation sector by establishing a plan to finance the purchase of low-emission and zero-emission vehicles for state use.
The group will also develop a plan for the installation of electric vehicle chargers in support of State-owned electric vehicles and create a guide to ensure the vehicles receive proper maintenance and care.
To reduce local air pollutants, the Illinois State Board of Education will also work in coordination with IDOT and IEPA to provide information about low-emission and zero-emission school bus options for local school districts.