(220 ILCS 5/20-130)
Retail choice and referral programs.
(a) The Commission shall have the authority to establish retail choice and referral programs to be administered by an electric utility or the State in which residential and small commercial customers receive incentives, including, but not limited to, discounted rate introductory offers for switching to participating electric suppliers.
(b) Reasonable costs associated with the implementation and operation of customer choice and referral programs may be recovered in an electric utility's distribution rates, except that any costs associated with any introductory discount for switching to a supplier shall be assumed by that supplier. Reasonable costs associated with the implementation and operation of a customer choice program may also be recovered from retail electric suppliers participating in a customer choice and referral program. In no event, however, shall the Commission mandate a cost recovery mechanism without first providing all interested parties notice and an opportunity to be heard in a hearing before the Commission.
(c) The Office of Retail Market Development shall serve as the clearinghouse for the development of retail choice and referral programs and shall work with electric utilities and interested parties on a continuous basis to implement and improve upon the programs. Nothing in this Section, however, shall prevent an electric utility on its own accord from implementing retail choice and referral programs.
(d) Only customers that qualify for utility service shall be eligible for retail choice and referral programs.
(e) The Office of Retail Market Development shall immediately upon the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly explore for possible implementation on as expedited a basis as possible the following retail choice and referral programs:
(1) An introductory fixed discount program in which
suppliers participating in the program offer customers a fixed percentage discount off of the electric utility's supply rate for a set number of billing periods. Customers would be able to enroll in the program by using an online enrollment form, completing an enrollment card found in their monthly electric utility bill, or by calling a toll-free number. Customers would be free to withdraw from the program at any time and select another alternative retail electric supplier or return to the electric utility.
(2) A new customer program in which electric
utilities would offer consumers initiating new electric service a choice of offers from participating electric suppliers to provide the consumer's electric supply service. Customers expressing a preference for a specific electric supplier would be enrolled with that supplier. Customers not expressing a preference for a specific electric supplier would be offered the opportunity to enroll with an electric supplier selected randomly on a rotating basis.
(3) A customer service call center referral program
in which customers calling an electric utility's call center would be offered enrollment with an alternative retail electric supplier and informed that they have the option to receive immediate savings or introductory offers by participating in the referral program. Customers choosing to participate would be transferred to a customer service representative for the program and would either select the electric supplier from which they would like to take service or be placed with a participating electric supplier chosen at random on a rotating basis.
Nothing in this Section shall prevent the Office of Retail Market Development or the Commission from considering retail choice and referral programs in addition to the programs outlined in this Section.
(Source: P.A. 95-700, eff. 11-9-07.)