Money has been tight since Chicago resident Sylvester Miller was laid off as a packer at General Products Corporation in April 2009.
Miller, 56, gets about $800 a month in assistance. With that, he supports himself, his girlfriend and 13-year-old stepson. Electric bills can run $200 a month, since his stepson, a typical teen, leaves lights blazing and plays video and computer games for hours.
Commonwealth Edison's proposed 7 percent rate increase, or $396 million, would add $14 to Miller's monthly expenses. "That would kind of hurt," he said.