The Illinois Utilities Business Diversity Council (IUBDC) spent more than $1.25 billion with minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses in 2017.  The IUBDC is a six member group that launched in 2015 with the goal of engaging and collaborating with diverse businesses across the state of Illinois.  In addition, the group offers networking among its membership to help develop potential diverse suppliers.

Charting members of the organization include Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Illinois American Water, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas and Peoples Gas.

According to the Daily Energy Insider, the IUBDC was made possible by “the state’s enactment of the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA), known as the “Smart Grid Bill,” in 2011, and the Natural Gas Consumer, Safety & Reliability Act in 2013, Mark said.”  These legislations created opportunities in natural gas and electric utilities for upgrading purposes allowing for the installation of “new technology that reduces outages, enhances reliability and promotes energy conservation under the measures.”  This also means opportunities for small and diverse businesses as well.

“IUBDC’s 7.8 percent increase in total spending in 2017 has been attributed to the formation of the Prime Partner Institute, which promotes utilization of diverse businesses throughout the supply chain. Additionally, IUBDC held three events that engaged contractors and potential subcontractors.”

The IUBDC is looking to continue its support by developing supplier registration and training documents to aid diverse suppliers understand the Illinois utility procurement process.