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Illinois DOC to Pay Millions in Utility Arrearages

The state of Illinois owes more than $34 million in operational costs for prisons statewide, including $1.2 million owed to the city of Chester for unpaid power, water and sewer bills at the Menard Correctional Center. A short-term budget deal was signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on June 30, 2016 that will free up $321 million in state funding for the Department of Corrections’ operational budget, and a spokesman for state Comptroller Leslie Munger acknowledged that checks would soon be issued for the outstanding bills.

The largest of the arrearages – $12.9 million – is owed to Constellation Energy Services, part of utility giant Exelon. The Department of Corrections also owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to each of several municipalities. The Pontiac Correctional Center owes the city of Pontiac about $733,000 for sewer service, while the city of Lincoln is waiting on a check for $446,000 for utilities provided to the Lincoln and Logan Correctional Centers. Mount Sterling officials considered suspending water service to the Western Illinois Correctional Center due to an outstanding debt of $314,000.

Rich Carter, a spokesman for the Comptroller’s office, said in an email that Munger “knows the municipalities and utility companies have been waiting a long time to receive these payments, and she has directed staff to pay these bills immediately after receiving the vouchers from the Department of Corrections.”


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