TITLE 83: PUBLIC UTILITIES
CHAPTER I: ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION
SUBCHAPTER b: PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO MORE THAN ONE KIND OF UTILITY
PART 280 PROCEDURES FOR GAS, ELECTRIC, WATER AND SANITARY SEWER UTILITIES GOVERNING ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICE, DEPOSITS, BILLING, PAYMENTS, REFUNDS AND DISCONNECTION OF SERVICE
SECTION 280.220 UTILITY COMPLAINT PROCESS
Section 280.220 Utility Complaint Process
a) Intent: To provide utilities and customers with the ability to resolve complaints or appeal complaints that cannot be resolved directly between the parties.
b) Customer Contact: The customer must contact the utility and attempt to resolve the complaint directly with the utility before proceeding to the Commission's informal complaint process. The customer and the utility shall cooperate to resolve the complaint.
c) Methods of Contact: The utility shall maintain local and/or toll free telephone numbers; a mailing address to receive customer complaints and correspondence; and, when the utility has the capability, a means of receiving electronically submitted complaints.
d) Availability: The utility shall maintain regular business hours and staffing to answer all customer inquiries and complaints.
e) Complaint Response Timeline: The utility shall respond to complaints within 14 days after their receipt, with exceptions in which both the customer and the utility agree to an extension or in which the utility can demonstrate to the customer that more time is required by circumstances beyond its control.
f) Customer Payment During Complaint: If the complaint involves a dispute over the amount billed:
1) The customer shall pay the undisputed portion of the bill or an amount equal to last year's bill at the location for the same period normalized for weather;
2) The utility shall confirm the disputed portion and the amount to be paid by the customer; and
3) The utility shall note and set aside the disputed amount in its records for the account.
g) Late Fees:
1) No late fees may be assessed on any amount in dispute while the complaint remains unresolved.
2) No late fees may be assessed on a previously disputed amount so long as the customer pays the previously disputed amount within 14 days after the resolution of the complaint and so long as the complaint was made to the utility before the disputed amount became past due.
h) Third Party Services and Billing: If the customer's complaint involves a service or good provided by a party other than the utility and the third party uses the utility for billing purposes, then the utility shall make a record in its files of the complaint and advise the customer how to contact the third party. The utility shall refrain from applying a customer's payment towards any amount in dispute with a third party on the bill until the complaint involving that portion of the bill has been resolved.
i) Appeal to Supervisor:
1) If the customer requests a referral to a supervisor, the utility personnel shall note the account and make the referral the same day.
2) The supervisory personnel must respond to the customer without delay, and priority shall be given:
A) First to customer accounts that are disconnected or when a health or safety concern has been raised by the customer;
B) Second to customer accounts in jeopardy of disconnection; and
C) Third to all other supervisory referrals.
j) All customer complaints must be assigned a complaint number that shall be retained by the utility for two years.
k) Prohibition Against Disconnection: The utility shall not disconnect a customer's utility service during the pendency of a complaint for any amount or reason that is the subject of the complaint. However, nothing shall prevent the utility from disconnecting service for reasons of safety or cooperation with civil authorities.
l) Appeal to Commission Complaint Process: Once a final answer is provided to the customer, and, if the customer indicates non-acceptance of the response:
1) The utility shall advise the customer of the right to appeal the utility's answer to the Commission's Consumer Services Division for an informal complaint;
2) The utility shall provide the customer with the contact information for the Commission's Consumer Services Division; and
3) In the case of a pending disconnection, the utility shall refrain from disconnection for at least three business days to allow the customer to contact the Commission's Consumer Services Division.