For Release: 06/11/2015
Illinois Utilities Come Together To Create More Opportunities For Diverse Suppliers
New Utilities Business Diversity Council Focused on Collaboration and Best Practices
Chicago, IL – Illinois utility leaders announced today the formation of the Illinois
Utilities Business Diversity Council designed to grow business opportunities for diverse suppliers
through closer collaboration, technical development and sharing of best practices.
The Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council members include Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Illinois
American Water, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas and Peoples Gas. In 2014, these companies spent a
combined total of approximately $708 million on goods and services provided by minority, women
and veteran-owned businesses. In addition, the companies spent approximately $440 million with
Growth in utilities' spend with diverse suppliers is due in part to the Energy Infrastructure
Modernization Act (EIMA) or "Smart Grid Bill" enacted in 2011, and the Natural Gas Consumer,
Safety & Reliability Act enacted in 2013. As a result, Illinois utilities are undertaking a massive
upgrade to the state's aging energy delivery infrastructure, installing new technologies and
equipment to reduce outages, improve reliability, and provide customers with programs to manage
and save energy.
"Illinois utilities are making investments to modernize and improve their infrastructure, which is
creating opportunities to expand our diverse supplier base. The formation of this Council will
support the utilities' efforts in driving collaboration, development and utilization of diverse
businesses," said Beth Reese, chief financial officer, AGL Resources, and former president of Nicor
Gas, an AGL Resources subsidiary.
"ComEd has a long history of diverse supplier engagement, and through the investments we're
making we have a great opportunity to increase our spend with partners who are helping us to
innovate and create solutions that enhance our ability to add value to customers," said Anne
Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd.
Illinois Commerce Commissioner Sherina E. Maye participated in the event and is encouraged
by the potential of the Council. "The Illinois Commerce Commission is pleased the utilities, through
this Council, now have a forum that will help them collaboratively increase procurement with diverse
suppliers," said Commissioner Maye. "It is my hope that the Council will not only support best
practice sharing, but also serve as a resource to the Commission and other stakeholders by
keeping us apprised of common trends, developments, challenges and solutions that will support
the continued growth of supplier diversity."
"At Illinois American Water, we invest over $70 million a year to upgrade our critical water and
wastewater infrastructure," said Bruce Hauk, president. "We're excited about the opportunities the
Council will offer to partner with diverse businesses, help them grow and contribute to local and
"Each of the participating companies has demonstrated that being inclusive at every level leads
to improved services for our customers," said Richard J. Mark, president of Ameren Illinois. "By
actively bringing diverse businesses into our supply chains, we're opening up new avenues for job
creation and building stronger communities throughout Illinois."
Creating a uniform reporting system for expenditures with diverse certified business across all
services sought by utility companies will be one of the first priorities for the new Council.
"Establishing a common framework through which we can more effectively collaborate and measure
the success of our efforts will help all members in their efforts to engage certified diverse suppliers,"
said John Kleczynski, president, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.
James H. Lowry, a nationally recognized workforce and supplier diversity expert, has been
working with the utilities to establish the Council and will serve in an advisory capacity along with
James R. Monk, president of the Illinois Energy Association.
Once a year, the Council will submit a written report to inform the Illinois Commerce
Commission on activities and progress toward meeting goals and objectives. The Council will also
coordinate an annual meeting for diverse businesses, legislators and the ICC, to discuss the
evolving state of diverse business growth spend in the Illinois utilities industry. The Council will also
place an emphasis on helping the utilities with their respective procurement goals for minority-
owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and small business enterprises.
The Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC) members include Ameren Illinois,
ComEd, Illinois American Water, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas and Peoples Gas. The mission of the
IUBDC is to serve the Illinois utilities as a forum for best practice sharing and information exchange
with the focus on advancing the growth and utilization of utility-based diverse businesses in the
state of Illinois.
For More Information, Contact:
- Alejandra Moran