CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois utility regulators are launching a formal investigation into whether Peoples Gas executives misled them about the price tag of a pipe replacement project that could cost Chicago consumers about $8 billion.

The Illinois Commerce Commission voted 4-1 on Wednesday to initiate the probe.

The commission says its investigation was prompted by a September audit that found Peoples Gas officials knew in January that the project could exceed $8 billion. Company executives testified before the commission in May that estimates were unknown.

A Peoples Gas spokeswoman says the company “will continue to fully cooperate” with the commission and the investigation.

The work replacing aging Chicago pipes started in 2011, with an initial cost estimate of about $2.6 billion.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has described the project as “out of control.”


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