State of Illinois
92nd General Assembly

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 1        AN ACT relating to public utilities.

 2        Be it enacted by the People of  the  State  of  Illinois,
 3    represented in the General Assembly:

 4        Section  5.  The  Public  Utilities  Act  is  amended  by
 5    changing Sections 8-205, 8-206, and 8-207 as follows:

 6        (220 ILCS 5/8-205) (from Ch. 111 2/3, par. 8-205)
 7        Sec. 8-205.  Termination of heating services.
 8        (a)  Termination  of  gas and electric utility service to
 9    all residential users, including all tenants of mastermetered
10    apartment buildings, for nonpayment of bills,  where  gas  or
11    electricity is used as the only source of space heating or to
12    control  or  operate  the only space heating equipment at the
13    residence is prohibited:,
14             (1).  on any day when the National  Weather  Service
15        forecast  for the following 24 hours covering the area of
16        the utility in which the residence is located includes  a
17        forecast   that   the  temperature  will  be  32  degrees
18        Fahrenheit or below; or
19             (2).  on any day preceding a holiday  or  a  weekend
20        when  such a forecast indicated that the temperature will
21        be 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below during the  holiday  or
22        weekend; or.
23             (3)  during   the   months  of  November,  December,
24        January, February, and March.
25        (b)  This Section does not negate the obligation  to  pay
26    for the utility service provided.
27    (Source: P.A. 84-617.)

28        (220 ILCS 5/8-206) (from Ch. 111 2/3, par. 8-206)
29        Sec. 8-206.  Disconnection of heating service.
30        (a)  Notwithstanding  any other provision of this Act, no
                            -2-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1    electric or gas public utility shall  disconnect  service  at
 2    any   time  to  any  residential  customer  or  mastermetered
 3    apartment building, for nonpayment of a bill or deposit where
 4    gas or electricity is used as the  primary  source  of  space
 5    heating  or  is used to control or operate the primary source
 6    of space heating equipment at the premises, for nonpayment of
 7    a bill or deposit for service provided during the  period  of
 8    time  from November December 1 through and including March 31
 9    of the immediately succeeding calendar year, unless:
10             (1)  The utility (i)  has  offered  the  customer  a
11        deferred payment arrangement allowing for payment of past
12        due  amounts  over a period of not less than 4 months not
13        to extend beyond the following November and the option to
14        enter into a levelized payment plan for  the  payment  of
15        future  bills.   The  maximum  down  payment requirements
16        shall not exceed 10% of the amount past due and owing  at
17        the  time  of  entering  into the agreement; and (ii) has
18        provided the  customer  with  the  names,  addresses  and
19        telephone  numbers  of  governmental and private agencies
20        which may  provide  assistance  to  customers  of  public
21        utilities  in  paying  their  utility  bills; the utility
22        shall obtain the approval of an agency before placing the
23        name of that agency on any list which  will  be  used  to
24        provide such information to customers;
25             (2)  The  customer  has  refused  or failed to enter
26        into a  deferred  payment  arrangement  as  described  in
27        paragraph (1) of this subsection (a); and
28             (3)  All  notice requirements as provided by law and
29        rules or regulations of the Commission have been met.
30        (b)  Prior to termination of service for any  residential
31    customer  or  mastermetered apartment building for nonpayment
32    of a bill or deposit for service provided during  the  period
33    from  November  December  1 through and including March 31 of
34    the immediately succeeding calendar year,  all  electric  and
                            -3-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1    gas public utilities shall, in addition to all other notices:
 2             (1)  Notify the customer or an adult residing at the
 3        customer's premises by telephone, a personal visit to the
 4        customer's premises or by first class mail, informing the
 5        customer that:
 6                  (i)  the  customer's  account is in arrears and
 7             the customer's service is subject to termination for
 8             nonpayment of a bill;
 9                  (ii)  the customer can avoid  disconnection  of
10             service   by   entering   into  a  deferred  payment
11             agreement to pay past due amounts over a period  not
12             to  extend  beyond  the  following  November and the
13             customer has the option to enter  into  a  levelized
14             payment plan for the payment of future bills;
15                  (iii)  the customer may apply for any available
16             assistance  to  aid  in the payment of utility bills
17             from any governmental or private agencies  from  the
18             list  of  such  agencies provided to the customer by
19             the utility.
20        Provided,  however,  that  a  public  utility  shall   be
21    required to make only one such contact with the customer with
22    respect  to  service  provided  during  any  such period from
23    November December 1 through and including  March  31  of  the
24    immediately succeeding calendar year.
25             (2)  Each  public  utility  shall  maintain  records
26        which  shall  include, but not necessarily be limited to,
27        the manner by which the customer  was  notified  and  the
28        time, date and manner by which any prior but unsuccessful
29        attempts  to contact were made.  These records shall also
30        describe the terms of the deferred  payment  arrangements
31        offered  to  the  customer  and those entered into by the
32        utility and customers.  These records shall indicate  the
33        total  amount  past  due,  the  down  payment, the amount
34        remaining to be paid and the number of months allowed  to
                            -4-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1        pay  the outstanding balance.  No public utility shall be
 2        required to retain  records  pertaining  to  unsuccessful
 3        attempts  to  contact  or  deferred  payment arrangements
 4        rejected by the customer after such customer has  entered
 5        into a deferred payment arrangement with such utility.
 6        (c)  No  public  utility  shall  disconnect  service  for
 7    nonpayment of a bill until the lapse of 6 business days after
 8    making   the   notification  required  by  paragraph  (1)  of
 9    subsection (b) so as to allow the customer an opportunity to:
10             (1)  Enter into a deferred payment  arrangement  and
11        the option to enter into a levelized payment plan for the
12        payment of future bills.
13             (2)  Contact  a  governmental or private agency that
14        may provide assistance to customers for  the  payment  of
15        public utility bills.
16        (d)  Any  residential customer who enters into a deferred
17    payment arrangement pursuant to this  Act,  and  subsequently
18    during  that  period  of  time  set  forth  in subsection (a)
19    becomes subject to termination,  shall  be  given  notice  as
20    required  by law and any rule or regulation of the Commission
21    prior to termination of service.
22        (e)  During that time period set forth in subsection (a),
23    a utility shall not require a down payment for a deposit from
24    a residential customer in excess of 20% of the total  deposit
25    requested.   An  additional  4 months shall be allowed to pay
26    the remainder of the deposit.  This provision shall not apply
27    to mastermetered apartment buildings or other  nonresidential
28    customers.
29        (f)  During  that  period of time set forth in subsection
30    (a), No utility  may  refuse  to  offer  a  deferred  payment
31    agreement to a residential customer who has defaulted on such
32    an  agreement within the past 12 months.  However, no utility
33    shall be required  to  enter  into  more  than  one  deferred
34    payment  arrangement  under this Section with any residential
                            -5-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1    customer  or  mastermetered  apartment  building  during  the
 2    period from December 1 through and including March 31 of  the
 3    immediately succeeding calendar year.
 4        (g)  In  order  to  enable customers to take advantage of
 5    energy assistance programs,  customers  who  can  demonstrate
 6    that  their applications for a local, state or federal energy
 7    assistance program have been approved may  request  that  the
 8    amount  they  will be entitled to receive as a regular energy
 9    assistance payment be deducted and set aside from the  amount
10    past  due  on  which they make deferred payment arrangements.
11    Payment on the set-aside amount shall be  credited  when  the
12    energy  assistance voucher or check is received, according to
13    the utility's common business practice.
14        (h)  In no event shall any utility send a final notice to
15    any customer who has entered into a current deferred  payment
16    agreement  and  has  not  defaulted  on that deferred payment
17    agreement, unless the final  notice  pertains  to  a  deposit
18    request.
19        (i)  Each  utility  shall include with each disconnection
20    notice sent with respect to nonpayment of a bill  or  deposit
21    for  service  provided  during  the  period from November for
22    December 1 through and including March 31 of the  immediately
23    succeeding  calendar year to a residential customer an insert
24    explaining the above provisions  and  providing  a  telephone
25    number  of the utility company which the consumer may call to
26    receive further information.
27        (j)  Each utility shall file with the Commission prior to
28    November December  1  of  each  year  a  plan  detailing  the
29    implementation of this Section.  This plan shall contain, but
30    not be limited to:
31             (1)  a  description  of  the  methods  to be used to
32        notify residential customers as required in this Section,
33        including the forms of written  and  oral  notices  which
34        shall   be   required  to  include  all  the  information
                            -6-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1        contained in subsection (b) of this Section.
 2             (2)  a listing of the names, addresses and telephone
 3        numbers of governmental and private  agencies  which  may
 4        provide  assistance  to  residential  customers in paying
 5        their utility bills;
 6             (3)  the   program   of   employee   education   and
 7        information which shall be used by  the  company  in  the
 8        implementation of this Section.
 9             (4)  a  description  of  methods  to  be utilized to
10        inform residential customers of  those  governmental  and
11        private  agencies  and  current  and  planned  methods of
12        cooperation with those agencies to identify the customers
13        who qualify for assistance in paying their utility bills.
14        A utility which has a plan on file  with  the  Commission
15    need  not  resubmit  a  new  plan  each  year.   However, any
16    alteration of the plan on file must be submitted and approved
17    prior to November December 1 of any year.
18        All plans are subject  to  review  and  approval  by  the
19    Commission.  The Commission may direct a utility to alter its
20    plan to comply with the requirements of this Section.
21    (Source: P.A. 84-617.)

22        (220 ILCS 5/8-207) (from Ch. 111 2/3, par. 8-207)
23        Sec. 8-207. Any former residential customer whose gas  or
24    electric  service  was used to provide or control the primary
25    source of space heating in the dwelling and whose service  is
26    disconnected  for  nonpayment  of  a  bill  or  a deposit for
27    service provided during the period from November  December  1
28    of  the  prior winter's heating season through April 1 of the
29    current heating season shall be eligible for reconnection and
30    a deferred payment arrangement under the provisions  of  this
31    Section, subject to the following limitations:
32        A  utility shall not be required to reconnect service to,
33    and enter into a deferred payment arrangement with, a  former
                            -7-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1    customer  under  the  provisions  of  this Section (1) except
 2    between November 1 and April 1 of the current heating  season
 3    for former customers who do not have applications pending for
 4    the  program  described in Section 6 of the Energy Assistance
 5    Act of 1989, and except between October 1 and April 1 of  the
 6    current  heating  season for all former customers who do have
 7    applications pending for the program described in  Section  6
 8    of the Energy Assistance Act of 1989 and who provide proof of
 9    application  to  the utility, (2) in 2 consecutive years, (3)
10    unless that former customer has paid at least 33 1/3% of  the
11    amount  billed  for  utility service rendered by that utility
12    subsequent to December 1 of the prior year,  or  (4)  in  any
13    instance  where the utility can show there has been tampering
14    with the utility's wires, pipes,  meters  (including  locking
15    devices),  or  other service equipment and further shows that
16    the former customer enjoyed the benefit  of  utility  service
17    obtained in the aforesaid manner.
18        The   terms   and  conditions  of  any  deferred  payment
19    arrangements established by the utility and a former customer
20    shall take into consideration the  following  factors,  based
21    upon  information  available  from current utility records or
22    provided by the former customer:
23             (1)  the amount past due;
24             (2)  the former customer's ability to pay;
25             (3)  the former customer's payment history;
26             (4)  the reasons for the accumulation  of  the  past
27        due amounts; and
28             (5)  any  other  relevant  factors  relating  to the
29        former customer's circumstances.
30        After  the  former  customer's   eligibility   has   been
31    established  in  accordance  with the first paragraph of this
32    Section and, upon the establishment  of  a  deferred  payment
33    agreement,  the  former  customer shall pay 1/3 of the amount
34    past due (including reconnecting charge, if any) and  1/3  of
                            -8-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1    any deposit required by the utility.
 2        Upon the payment of 1/3 of the amount past due and 1/3 of
 3    any  deposit  required  by the utility, the former customer's
 4    service shall  be  reconnected  as  soon  as  possible.   The
 5    company  and  the  former  customer  shall agree to a payment
 6    schedule for the remaining  balances  which  will  reasonably
 7    allow  the  former  customer  to  make  the  payments  on the
 8    remainder of the deposit  and  the  past  due  balance  while
 9    paying  current  bills  during  the  winter  heating  season.
10    However,   the   utility  is  not  obliged  to  make  payment
11    arrangements extending beyond the  following  November.   The
12    utility shall allow the former customer a minimum of 4 months
13    in which to retire the past due balance and 3 months in which
14    to  pay  the  remainder  of the deposit.  The former customer
15    shall also be informed that payment on the amounts  past  due
16    and  the deposit, if any, plus the current bills must be paid
17    by the due date or  the  customer  may  face  termination  of
18    service pursuant to this Section and Section 8-206.
19        The   Commission   shall  develop  rules  to  govern  the
20    reconnection  of  a  former  customer  who   demonstrates   a
21    financial  inability  to  meet  the requirement of 1/3 of the
22    amount past due and 1/3  of  any  deposit  requested  by  the
23    utility.    The Commission's rules shall establish a means by
24    which  the  former  customer's   utility   service   may   be
25    reconnected  through  the  payment of a reasonable amount and
26    upon entering  into a deferred payment agreement.
27        Any payment agreement made shall be in  writing,  with  a
28    copy  provided to the former customer.  The renegotiation and
29    reinstatement of a customer and the establishment of a budget
30    payment plan shall be pursuant to rules  established  by  the
31    Commission.
32        Not  later  than September 15 of each year, every gas and
33    electric  utility  shall  conduct  a  survey  of  all  former
34    residential customers whose gas or electric service was  used
                            -9-                LRB9202933JSpc
 1    to  provide or control the primary source of space heating in
 2    the dwelling and whose gas or electric service was terminated
 3    for nonpayment of a bill or deposit from December  1  of  the
 4    previous  year to September 15 of that year and where service
 5    at that premises  has  not  been  restored.  Not  later  than
 6    October 1 of each year the utility shall notify each of these
 7    former  customers  that  the  gas or electric service will be
 8    restored by the company for the coming heating season if  the
 9    former  customer  contacts the utility and makes arrangements
10    with the  utility  for  reconnection  of  service  under  the
11    conditions  set forth in this Section. A utility shall notify
12    the former customer or an adult member of  the  household  by
13    personal  visit,  telephone contact or mailing of a letter by
14    first class mail to the last known  address  of  that  former
15    customer.    The  utility  shall  keep  records  which  would
16    indicate the date, form and the results of such contact.
17        Each gas and electric utility which has former  customers
18    affected   by  this  Section  shall  file  reports  with  the
19    Commission providing such information as the  Commission  may
20    deem  appropriate.  The  Commission shall notify each gas and
21    electric utility prior to August 1 of  each  year  concerning
22    the  information  which  is  to be included in the report for
23    that year.
24        In no event shall any  actions  taken  by  a  utility  in
25    compliance  with this Section be deemed to abrogate or in any
26    way interfere with the utility's rights to pursue the  normal
27    collection processes otherwise available to it.
28        The  Commission  shall promulgate rules to implement this
29    Section.
30    (Source: P.A. 86-782; 87-469.)

31        Section 99.  Effective date.  This Act takes effect  upon
32    becoming law.

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