(305 ILCS 20/2) (from Ch. 111 2/3, par. 1402)
    Sec. 2. Findings and Intent.
    (a) The General Assembly finds that:
        (1) the health, welfare, and prosperity of the people
of the State of Illinois require that all citizens receive essential levels of heat and electric service regardless of economic circumstance;
        (2) public utilities and other entities providing
such services are entitled to receive proper payment for services actually rendered;
        (3) variability of Federal low income energy
assistance funding necessitates a State response to ensure the continuity and the further development of energy assistance and related policies and programs within Illinois;
        (4) energy assistance policies and programs in effect
in Illinois have benefited all Illinois citizens, and should therefore be continued with the modifications provided herein; and
        (5) low-income households are unable to afford
essential utility services and other necessities, such as food, shelter, and medical care; the health and safety of those who are unable to afford essential utility services suffer when monthly payments for these services exceed a reasonable percentage of the customer's household income; costs of collecting past due bills and uncollectible balances are reflected in rates paid by all ratepayers; society benefits if essential utility services are affordable and arrearages and disconnections are minimized for those most in need.
    (b) Consistent with its findings, the General Assembly declares that it is the policy of the State that:
        (1) a comprehensive low income energy assistance
policy and program should be established which incorporates income assistance, home weatherization, and other measures to ensure that citizens have access to affordable energy services;
        (2) the ability of public utilities and other
entities to receive just compensation for providing services should not be jeopardized by this policy;
        (3) resources applied in achieving this policy should
be coordinated and efficiently utilized through the integration of public programs and through the targeting of assistance; and
        (4) the State should utilize all appropriate and
available means to fund this program and, to the extent possible, should identify and utilize sources of funding which complement State tax revenues.
(Source: P.A. 96-33, eff. 7-10-09.)