Electric co-op continues service to 67 unpaid state accounts

As Illinois nears its fifth month without a budget, many state agencies have remained open, but that doesn’t mean they’re paying their bills.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says the state faces an $8.5 billion backlog that needs to be paid.

Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative holds 67 state accounts In their rural five-county area according to General Manager Chris Bennett.

"We haven’t received any payments,” said Bennett. “They’re four months behind at this point."

Despite the mounting bills, the co-op has decided to keep the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police plugged in.

"We don’t want to endanger any of the public,” said Bennett. “IDOT lights could be affected. State police radio towers and little things like that are very important, and very essential."

Non-essential services such as state parks could easily have been unplugged, but the co-op has decided against it.

"If a park or something was shut down because it didn’t have power we would hate to see that,” said Bennett.  “A lot of our members work for some of those agencies that could be impacted if that happened."

With a budget agreement unlikely until after the first of the year, Bennett says they will keep the meter running and bill the state once a budget is passed.

The state of Illinois has already closed the State Museum to save money.

We reached out to the IDNR to see if any state parks or campgrounds might be closed to conserve cash during the winter months, but they have yet to return our call.

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