Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Gas execs need to feel the chill

Spread the love

By Ray Hanania

You would think that record low temperatures might save you money. But not in Illinois and not at Nicor gas, the company that has a monopoly on how we heat our homes.

You can’t switch your utility companies. They are determined by geographic location.

Originally an Illinois company gobbled up by AGL, a Georgia conglomerate in 2011, Nicor was then gobbled up again by Southern Gas Company in 2015, also based in Georgia.

Nicor is the perfect example of how a shell game works.

RayHanania

Ray Hanania

In 2018, the average monthly cost to heat my home comfortably with Nicor was about $50 a month. In 2020, when the pandemic began, it dropped slightly. Then it started to go back up.

The pandemic was a factor. The weather was warmer and many major companies were having employees work from home, which was great for reducing office costs and getting employees to be more productive by working twice as much for the same amount of money. And that kept gas prices down.

Nicor does not profit off the cost of the gas supply. Under Illinois law, Nicor must pass on the costs of natural gas to consumers, with no markup.

However, they make up for it in other ways. Nicor profits off the rates they charge to deliver gas to our homes. You know, through that underground pipeline connected to every home through which little elves work hard and sweat 24 hours a day, lugging that heavy gas to each home and business.

It’s really hard work. Fortunately, the elves do it for free.

That’s why the Illinois Commerce Commission, without protest from Gov. JB Pritzker, gave Nicor a $240 million rate hike last November, the third increase it has gotten in the past four years or more than $501 million in rate hikes since 2017.

I wish “JB” would care about homeowners the way he does his buddies who run Nicor. Did I ever ask out loud why a guy named “Jay Robert” would use the initials “JB” instead of “J.R.”? I digress.

As a consequence, Nicor more than doubled the cost of providing natural gas to customers, not because natural gas prices increased so dramatically, but because their profits dipped and they need the cash to pay for infrastructure improvements and the higher costs of delivery.

Damn elves. Always asking for more cash!

One of the driving forces of the price hikes are surcharges that AGL has imposed on customers through Nicor.

Every government uses the excuse that the pipes are made of lead and installed in the 1800s, or our equipment is eroding and needs to be repaired.

Yet Nicor doesn’t impose a surcharge or price hikes on everyone. They do it just on the customers.

Nicor is a public utility and yet it acts like it is “Gordon Gecko’s” private corporation.

How much do Nicor executives make each year in salaries, bonuses and benefits?

In 2010, Russ Strobel made $3,312,213 in total compensation as chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Nicor and Nicor Gas at Nicor Inc. in 2010. $1,540,031 was received as total cash; $1,543,916 was received as equity and $228,266 was received as pension and other forms of compensation.

Not too shabby for the 33rd highest paid executive in the country, according to S&P Capital IQ.

John O. Hudson III was named Nicor president and CEO in June 2020. He also is a senior vice president at Southern Company Gas, which owns four natural gas companies, including Nicor. I guess Hudson has a lot of time on his hands.

But go to Google and type in the query “What is the salary of John O. Hudson III?” and you get zip. Nada. Nothing. So, we can only guess at how much he makes.

The Citizen Utility Board, which monitors utility companies for the public, does a lot of screaming but honestly, they need to get their act together.

So, we are left with Nicor’s suggestion on how to save money. Reduce the heat you use.

Sure, lower the temperature in your home. Wrap yourself in a blanket. Nothing expensive, of course. Something cheap. Put people together in a small room and use body heat to generate warmth.

I have a better idea. How about asking Nicor to reduce their executive salaries and make them wrap themselves in blankets?

Check out Ray Hanania’s columns and political podcasts at hanania.com.

Local News

The currently vacant building at 5400 W. 63rd St. --File photo

Legislation to acquire new police district facility on Southwest Side passes General Assembly

Spread the love

Spread the love. Porfirio, Guerrero-Cuellar measure heads to Pritzker’s desk  . From staff reports State Senator Mike Porfirio (D-11th) and State Rep. Angelica “Angie” Guerrero-Cuellar (D-22nd) recently passed legislation in the General Assembly to acquire a new police district facility representing their districts on the Southwest Side. The bill passed both chambers with veto-proof margins.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Lyons water polo teams splash to state

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Both of Lyons water polo team qualified for the state quarterfinals. Lyons’ girls water polo team won its own sectional by beating Mother McAuley, 13-9, in the title game on May 11. The Lions will face York in the state quarterfinals on May 17 at Stevenson High School in…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

IHSA announces postseason assignments for baseball, softball, girls soccer

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The IHSA has announced the Class 3A and 4A baseball seeds were revealed and Nazareth, which is seeking its third straight state championship will have to do it in Class 4A after winning two straight in 3A in 2022 and 2023. The Roadrunners drew the top seed at the…

Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher, shown retrieving a ball against Washington on May 1, left a May 12 game against Utah with an injury. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars win at home again, Naeher hurt

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The NWSL released a fun fact that is pretty darn fun for Chicago Red Stars fans. This year’s version of the Red Stars opened the season 3-0-1, scoring 10 points in the first four road games. They were the fourth team in league history to do that. According to…

Anna Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle history. Photo courtesy of De La Salle

Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa coach calls it a career

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa is retiring. Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle’s history as she headed up the program in 2002 and racked up 538 victories, 10 regional championships and four sectional titles. She is also the boys coach and wraps…

Shepard's Kyla Motley (left) and Rajae Stevenson at the Lyons Sectional. Photo courtesy of Shepard High School

Girls Track | Shepard’s Kyla Motley wins three titles at Lyons Sectional

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Shepard junior track star Kyla Motley was a sectional champion in three events for the second year in a row. Motley won the 100 high hurdles with a time of 15.31, the long jump with an 18-2.5 effort, and the triple jump with a 36-9 at the Class 3A Lyons…

Stagg tennis players and twins Nick and Seamus Keough finished third at No. 3 singles at the SouthWest Suburban Red meet. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Tennis | Stagg takes third at final SWSC Red tourney

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Saturday blue skies cleared the way for the final SouthWest Suburban Conference boys tennis matches as Stagg hosted Andrew, Lincoln-Way Central, and Lincoln-Way West at Moraine Valley Community College. The Chargers started the season losing five of their first games but finished the regular season 10-10-1. They finished third…

Anthony Calderon

UPDATE: Bedford Park man, girlfriend charged with plotting Bridgeview father’s murder

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong A Bedford Park man and the victim’s girlfriend have been charged in the shooting death of Arturo Cantu last Wednesday. Bridgeview police arrested Anthony Calderon, 20, of the 7700 block of 65th Place, Friday night. He allegedly confessed to the murder and reportedly led police to the weapon used in…

Facepainting was a hit at Stickney's annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. (Supplied photos)

Stickney celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney didn’t disappoint this year with its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Village Trustee Leandra Torres, who is the Co-Chaiman of the Parks and Recreation Commission along with Trustee Jim Hrejsa, said it was a fun-filled day. “We had 774 people attend this year,” she said. “It…

Summit Village officials with SD 104 Wrestling Coach Joe Phelan, and Wrestlers 
Gianna Araujo-Dominguez,Ali Arellano-Phipps,Yaili Fortiz, Joaquin Fortiz, and Skylar Arellano-Phipps. Michael Starzyk was not present. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Summit congratulates District 104 westlers

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan At their April 15 board meeting, Summit Mayor Sergio Rodriguez and village officials presented Certificates of Accomplishment to boy and girl wrestlers from Summit School District 104. Rodriguez read their accomplishments and called them up one-by-one to receive their certificates.  They were given a standing ovation by those in attendance.…

Neighbors

The currently vacant building at 5400 W. 63rd St. --File photo

Legislation to acquire new police district facility on Southwest Side passes General Assembly

Spread the love

Spread the love. Porfirio, Guerrero-Cuellar measure heads to Pritzker’s desk  . From staff reports State Senator Mike Porfirio (D-11th) and State Rep. Angelica “Angie” Guerrero-Cuellar (D-22nd) recently passed legislation in the General Assembly to acquire a new police district facility representing their districts on the Southwest Side. The bill passed both chambers with veto-proof margins.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Lyons water polo teams splash to state

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Both of Lyons water polo team qualified for the state quarterfinals. Lyons’ girls water polo team won its own sectional by beating Mother McAuley, 13-9, in the title game on May 11. The Lions will face York in the state quarterfinals on May 17 at Stevenson High School in…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

IHSA announces postseason assignments for baseball, softball, girls soccer

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The IHSA has announced the Class 3A and 4A baseball seeds were revealed and Nazareth, which is seeking its third straight state championship will have to do it in Class 4A after winning two straight in 3A in 2022 and 2023. The Roadrunners drew the top seed at the…

Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher, shown retrieving a ball against Washington on May 1, left a May 12 game against Utah with an injury. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars win at home again, Naeher hurt

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The NWSL released a fun fact that is pretty darn fun for Chicago Red Stars fans. This year’s version of the Red Stars opened the season 3-0-1, scoring 10 points in the first four road games. They were the fourth team in league history to do that. According to…

Anna Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle history. Photo courtesy of De La Salle

Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa coach calls it a career

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa is retiring. Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle’s history as she headed up the program in 2002 and racked up 538 victories, 10 regional championships and four sectional titles. She is also the boys coach and wraps…

Shepard's Kyla Motley (left) and Rajae Stevenson at the Lyons Sectional. Photo courtesy of Shepard High School

Girls Track | Shepard’s Kyla Motley wins three titles at Lyons Sectional

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Shepard junior track star Kyla Motley was a sectional champion in three events for the second year in a row. Motley won the 100 high hurdles with a time of 15.31, the long jump with an 18-2.5 effort, and the triple jump with a 36-9 at the Class 3A Lyons…

Stagg tennis players and twins Nick and Seamus Keough finished third at No. 3 singles at the SouthWest Suburban Red meet. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Tennis | Stagg takes third at final SWSC Red tourney

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Saturday blue skies cleared the way for the final SouthWest Suburban Conference boys tennis matches as Stagg hosted Andrew, Lincoln-Way Central, and Lincoln-Way West at Moraine Valley Community College. The Chargers started the season losing five of their first games but finished the regular season 10-10-1. They finished third…

Anthony Calderon

UPDATE: Bedford Park man, girlfriend charged with plotting Bridgeview father’s murder

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong A Bedford Park man and the victim’s girlfriend have been charged in the shooting death of Arturo Cantu last Wednesday. Bridgeview police arrested Anthony Calderon, 20, of the 7700 block of 65th Place, Friday night. He allegedly confessed to the murder and reportedly led police to the weapon used in…

Facepainting was a hit at Stickney's annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. (Supplied photos)

Stickney celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan The Village of Stickney didn’t disappoint this year with its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Village Trustee Leandra Torres, who is the Co-Chaiman of the Parks and Recreation Commission along with Trustee Jim Hrejsa, said it was a fun-filled day. “We had 774 people attend this year,” she said. “It…

Summit Village officials with SD 104 Wrestling Coach Joe Phelan, and Wrestlers 
Gianna Araujo-Dominguez,Ali Arellano-Phipps,Yaili Fortiz, Joaquin Fortiz, and Skylar Arellano-Phipps. Michael Starzyk was not present. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Summit congratulates District 104 westlers

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan At their April 15 board meeting, Summit Mayor Sergio Rodriguez and village officials presented Certificates of Accomplishment to boy and girl wrestlers from Summit School District 104. Rodriguez read their accomplishments and called them up one-by-one to receive their certificates.  They were given a standing ovation by those in attendance.…