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Public Act 097-0222


 

Public Act 0222 97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  
  

 


 
Public Act 097-0222
 
SB1396 EnrolledLRB097 09365 ASK 49500 b

    AN ACT concerning regulation.
 
    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
 
    Section 5. The Public Utilities Act is amended by changing
Section 16-117 as follows:
 
    (220 ILCS 5/16-117)
    Sec. 16-117. Commission consumer education program.
    (a) The restructuring of the electricity industry will
create a new electricity market with new marketers and sellers
offering new goods and services, many of which the average
consumer will not be able to readily evaluate. It is the intent
of the General Assembly that (i) electricity consumers be
provided with sufficient and reliable information so that they
are able to compare and make informed selections of products
and services provided in the electricity market; and (ii)
mechanisms be provided to enable consumers to protect
themselves from marketing practices that are unfair or abusive.
    (b) The Commission shall implement and maintain a consumer
education information program to help provide residential and
small commercial retail customers with information to help them
understand their service options in a competitive electric
services market, and their rights and responsibilities.
    (c) Not more than 90 days after the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly, the Commission
shall direct the Office of Retail Market Development to review
the existing consumer education information for residential
and small commercial customers and consider whether updates are
necessary. The Office of Retail Market Development shall seek
input from interested persons, including alternative retail
electric suppliers, electric utilities, the Attorney General,
and the Citizens Utility Board, to further its review of the
consumer education materials and possible proposed changes.
Within 4 months after the start of the review, the Office of
Retail Market Development shall submit recommendations to the
Commission for approval. The Commission shall form a working
group following the enactment of this amendatory Act of 1997.
This group shall consist of 5 representatives of the
investor-owned electric utilities in this State, 2 of which
shall be appointed by electric utilities serving over 1,000,000
retail customers in this State; 2 representatives of
alternative retail electric suppliers; 3 representatives of
organizations representing the interests of residential and
small commercial retail customers; and the Commission.
    (d) (Blank). By March 1, 1999, with respect to educational
materials for small commercial customers and by November 1,
2001 with respect to educational materials for residential
customers, the working group appointed pursuant to this Section
shall develop a package of printed educational materials which
meet the requirements of subsection (e) and shall submit such
package to the Commission for approval, along with
recommendations for implementing this consumer education
program. Such materials shall consider the needs of different
types of consumers in this State, such as elderly, low-income,
multilingual, minority, rural and disabled customers. The
working group shall issue recommendations to the Commission on
how such education program can be implemented through a variety
of communication methods, including specifically mass media,
distribution of printed material, public service
announcements, and posting on the Internet.
    (e) At a minimum, the materials constituting the consumer
education information program submitted to the Commission by
the Office of Retail Market Development working group shall
include concise explanations or descriptions of the following:
        (1) the structure of the electric utility industry
    following this amendatory Act of 1997 and a glossary of
    basic terms;
        (2) the choices available to consumers to take electric
    service from an alternative retail electric supplier or
    remain as a retail customer of an electric utility;
        (3) a customer's rights, risks and responsibilities in
    receiving service from an alternative retail electric
    supplier or remaining as a retail customer of an electric
    utility;
        (4) the legal obligations of alternative retail
    electric suppliers;
        (5) those services that may be offered on a competitive
    basis in a deregulated electric services market, including
    services that could be packaged with the delivery of
    electric power and energy;
        (6) services that an electric utility is required to
    provide pursuant to tariffed rates;
        (7) the components of a bill that could be received by
    a customer taking delivery services;
        (8) the complaint procedures set forth in Section
    10-108 of this Act by which consumers may seek a redress of
    grievances against an electric utility or an alternative
    retail electric supplier and a list of phone numbers of the
    Commission, the Attorney General or other entities that can
    provide information and assistance to customers; and
        (9) additional information available from the
    Commission upon request.
    (f) Within 45 days following the submission required of the
Office of Retail Market Development working group by subsection
(c) (d) of this Section, the Commission shall approve or
disapprove the consumer education information educational
materials and recommendations for program implementation. The
Commission shall be deemed to have approved the educational
program materials and recommendations unless the Commission
disapproves of any such material or recommendation within 45
days following the date of receipt.
    (g) Once approved by the Commission, materials comprising
the consumer education information program contemplated by
this Section shall be provided distributed as follows:
        (1) If the electric utility bills residential or small
    commercial retail customers directly, then the bill shall
    include the Commission's electric education internet
    address in the space reserved for alternative retail
    electric supplier messages. Electric utilities shall mail
    printed educational materials specified by the working
    group and approved by the Commission (a) to all residential
    and small commercial retail customers within a reasonable
    period prior to the date that such customers become
    eligible to purchase power from alternative retail
    electric suppliers, such "reasonable period" to be
    determined by the Commission; and (b) once the applicable
    customer class becomes eligible to receive delivery
    services, to all new residential and small commercial
    retail customers at the time that such customers begin
    taking services from the electric utility.
        (2) Alternative retail electric suppliers shall
    provide the Commission's electric education internet
    address include such materials with all initial mailings to
    all potential residential and small commercial retail
    customers but in all circumstances prior to the time by
    which an alternative retail electric supplier executes any
    agreements or contracts with such customers for the supply
    of electric services.
        (3) (Blank). Both electric utilities and alternative
    retail electric suppliers shall provide such materials at
    no charge to residential and small commercial retail
    customers upon request.
        (4) The Commission shall make the following
    information available on its web site and printed
    information from the web site available to the public upon
    request and at no charge, and shall make available to the
    public on the Internet through the State of Illinois World
    Wide Web Site:
            (A) all consumer education information developed
        by the Office of Retail Market Development printed
        educational materials developed by the working group
        and approved by the Commission;
            (B) a list of all certified alternative retail
        electric suppliers serving residential and small
        commercial retail customers within the service
        territory of each electric utility;
            (C) a list of alternative retail electric
        suppliers serving residential or small commercial
        retail customers which have been found in the last 3
        years by the Commission pursuant to Section 10-108 to
        have failed to provide service in accordance with the
        terms of their contracts with such retail customers;
        and
            (D) guidelines to assist customers in determining
        which energy supplier is most appropriate for each
        customer.
    (h) The Commission may also adopt a uniform disclosure form
which alternative retail electric suppliers would be required
to complete enabling consumers to compare prices, terms and
conditions offered by such suppliers.
    (i) The Commission shall make available to the public staff
with the ability and knowledge to respond to consumer
inquiries.
    (j) (Blank). The costs of printing educational materials
approved by the Commission pursuant to this Section shall be
payable solely from funding as provided in this subsection.
    Each year the General Assembly shall appropriate money to
the Commission from the General Revenue Fund for the expenses
of the Commission associated with this Section. The cost of the
consumer education program contemplated by this Section shall
not exceed the amount of such appropriation. In no event shall
any electric utility, alternative retail electric supplier or
customer be liable for the costs of printing consumer education
program material in accordance with this Section. The
obligations associated with this consumer education program
shall not exceed the amounts appropriated for this program
pursuant to this Section.
    (k) (Blank). The Commission shall study the effectiveness
of the consumer education program. Such study shall include a
notice and an opportunity for participation and comment by all
interested and potentially affected parties. Such study shall
be completed by January 31st of each year during the mandatory
transition period and a summary thereof, together with any
legislative recommendations, shall be included in the
Commission's Annual Report due in accordance with Section 4-304
of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 90-561, eff. 12-16-97.)
 
    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
becoming law.

Effective Date: 7/28/2011