The General Assembly further finds that it is
necessary to assure that employees of electric utilities and employees of contractors or subcontractors performing work on behalf of an electric utility operating in the
deregulated industry have the requisite skills, knowledge, training, experience, and
competence to provide reliable and safe electrical service under this Act.
The General Assembly also finds that it is necessary to assure that employees of alternative retail electric suppliers and employees of contractors or subcontractors performing work on behalf of an alternative retail electric supplier operating in the deregulated industry have the requisite skills, knowledge, training, experience, and competence to provide reliable and safe electrical service under this Act.
To ensure that these findings and prerequisites for reliable and safe electrical service continue to prevail, each alternative retail electric supplier, electric utility, and contractors and subcontractors performing work on behalf of an electric utility or alternative retail electric supplier must demonstrate the competence of their respective employees to work on the distribution system.
The knowledge, skill, training, experience, and competence levels to be
demonstrated shall be consistent with those required
of or by the electric utilities in this State as of January 1, 2007, with respect to
their employees and employees of contractors or subcontractors performing work on their behalf. Nothing in this Section shall prohibit an electric utility from establishing knowledge, skill, training, experience, and competence levels greater than those required as of January 1, 2007.
An adequate demonstration of requisite knowledge, skill, training, experience, and
competence shall include, at a minimum, completion or current participation and ultimate completion by the
employee of an accredited or otherwise recognized
apprenticeship program for the particular craft, trade or
skill, or specified and several years of employment performing a particular work function that is utilized by an electric utility.
Notwithstanding any law, tariff, Commission rule, order, or decision to the contrary, the Commission shall have an affirmative statutory obligation to ensure that an electric utility is employing employees, contractors, and subcontractors with employees who meet the requirements of subsection (a) of this Section when installing, constructing, operating, and maintaining generation, transmission, or distribution facilities and equipment within this State pursuant to any provision in this Act or any Commission order, rule, or decision.
For purposes of this Section, "distribution facilities and equipment" means any and all of the facilities and equipment, including, but not limited to, substations, distribution feeder circuits, switches, meters, protective equipment, primary circuits, distribution transformers, line extensions and service extensions both above or below ground, conduit, risers, elbows, transformer pads, junction boxes, manholes, pedestals, conductors, and all associated fittings that connect the transmission or distribution system to either the weatherhead on the retail customer's building or other structure for above ground service or to the terminals on the meter base of the retail customer's building or other structure for below ground service.
To implement this requirement for alternative retail electric suppliers, the Commission, in
determining that an applicant meets the standards for
certification as an alternative retail electric supplier,
shall require the applicant to demonstrate (i) that the
applicant is licensed to do business, and bonded, in the State
of Illinois; and (ii) that the employees of the applicant that
will be installing, operating, and maintaining generation,
transmission, or distribution facilities within this State, or
any entity with which the applicant has contracted to perform
those functions within this State, have the requisite knowledge, skills, training, experience, and
competence to perform those functions in a safe and
responsible manner in order to provide safe and reliable
service, in accordance with the criteria stated above.
(b) The General Assembly finds, based on experience in
other industries that have undergone similar transitions, that
the introduction of competition into the State's electric
utility industry may result in workforce reductions by
electric utilities which may adversely affect persons who have
been employed by this State's electric utilities in functions
important to the public convenience and welfare. The General
Assembly further finds that the impacts on employees and their
communities of any necessary reductions in the utility
workforce directly caused by this restructuring of the
electric industry shall be mitigated to the extent
practicable through such means as offers of voluntary
severance, retraining, early retirement, outplacement and
related benefits. Therefore, before any such reduction in the
workforce during the transition period, an electric utility
shall present to its employees or their representatives a
workforce reduction plan outlining the means by which the
electric utility intends to mitigate the impact of such
workforce reduction on its employees.
(c) In the event of a sale, purchase, or any other transfer
of ownership during the mandatory transition period of one or
more Illinois divisions or business units, and/or generating
stations or generating units, of an electric utility, the
electric utility's contract and/or agreements with the
acquiring entity or persons shall require that the entity or
persons hire a sufficient number of non-supervisory employees
to operate and maintain the station, division or unit by
initially making offers of employment to the non-supervisory
workforce of the electric utility's division, business unit,
generating station and/or generating unit at no less than the
wage rates, and substantially equivalent fringe benefits and
terms and conditions of employment that are in effect at the
time of transfer of ownership of said division, business unit,
generating station, and/or generating units; and said wage
rates and substantially equivalent fringe benefits and terms
and conditions of employment shall continue for at least 30
months from the time of said transfer of ownership unless the
parties mutually agree to different terms and conditions of
employment within that 30-month period. The utility shall
offer a transition plan to those employees who are not offered
jobs by the acquiring entity because that entity has a need
for fewer workers. If there is litigation concerning the
sale, or other transfer of ownership of the electric utility's
divisions, business units, generating station, or
generating units, the 30-month period will begin on the date
the acquiring entity or persons take control or management
of the divisions, business units, generating station or
generating units of the electric utility.
(d) If a utility transfers ownership during the mandatory
transition period of one or more Illinois divisions, business
units, generating stations or generating units of an
electric utility to a majority-owned subsidiary, that
subsidiary shall continue to employ the utility's employees
who were employed by the utility at such division, business
unit or generating station at the time of the transfer under
the same terms and conditions of employment as those employees
enjoyed at the time of the transfer. If ownership of the
subsidiary is subsequently sold or transferred to a third
party during the transition period, the transition provisions
outlined in subsection (c) shall apply.
(e) The plant transfer provisions set forth above shall not
apply to any generating station which was the subject of a
sales agreement entered into before January 1, 1997.
(Source: P.A. 97-616, eff. 10-26-11; 97-646, eff. 12-30-11.)