The South Austin Coalition, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and other activist rallied in Springfield Tuesday against energy company ComEd’s recent rate hikes.

More than 300 community activists and ComEd customers hosted a rally at the Illinois General Assembly Tuesday afternoon. It was the second trip SACCC has taken in the last year to protest ComEd’s rate hike, which went into effect in January. The company’s rate freeze ended this January. House legislators have approved a measure that would roll back and freeze the rate increase for a year. The measure was also approved last week in the Illinois senate.

The electricity rate increases took effect Jan. 1, 2007, hitting middle and low-income customers particularly hard, activists said Tuesday. In some instances, customer bills more than doubled, activists said. The increases, they estimate, average about 20 percent.

“This is a time of great stress and suffering for poor people in our country and state,” said SACCC’s Lillian Drummond, the organization’s utility chairperson, at Tuesday’s rally.

The rally was organized the Illinois Association of Community Action agencies, which includes CEDA, the Community Economic Development Association of Cook County.

-Terry Dean