[ Search ] [ PDF text ] [ Legislation ]
[ Home ] [ Back ] [ Bottom ]
92_HB0459 LRB9202933JSpc 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; or19 (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 depositwhere 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 December1 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 December1 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 December1 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 subsection30 (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 the2 period from December 1 through and including March 31 of the3 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 for22 December1 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 December1 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 December1 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 December1 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.
[ Top ]