State of Illinois
92nd General Assembly

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 1        AN ACT in relation to 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 adding
 5    Article XIX as follows:

 6        (220 ILCS 5/Art. XIX heading new)

 8        (220 ILCS 5/19-100 new)
 9        Sec.  19-100.  Short title.  This Article may be cited as
10    the Alternative Gas Supplier Law.

11        (220 ILCS 5/19-105 new)
12        Sec. 19-105.  Definitions.   For  the  purposes  of  this
13    Article, the following terms shall be defined as set forth in
14    this Section.
15        "Affiliate" has the meaning set forth in Section 7-108 of
16    this Act.
17        "Alternative    gas   supplier"   means   every   person,
18    cooperative, corporation,   municipal  corporation,  company,
19    association,   joint  stock  company  or  association,  firm,
20    partnership, individual,  or  other  entity,  their  lessees,
21    trustees,  or  receivers  appointed by  any court whatsoever,
22    that offers gas for sale, lease, or  in  exchange  for  other
23    value  received  to one or more customers, or that engages in
24    the furnishing of gas to one or  more  customers,  and  shall
25    include  affiliated  interests  of  a gas utility, resellers,
26    aggregators and marketers, but  shall  not  include  (i)  gas
27    utilities  (or any agent of the gas utility to the extent the
28    gas utility provides tariffed services to  customers  through
29    an  agent); (ii) public utilities that are owned and operated
                            -2-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1    by any political subdivision, public  institution  of  higher
 2    education  or  municipal corporation of this State, or public
 3    utilities that are owned by a political  subdivision,  public
 4    institution of higher education, or municipal corporation and
 5    operated  by  any  of  its lessees or operating agents; (iii)
 6    residential natural gas cooperatives that are  not-for-profit
 7    corporations established for the purpose of administering and
 8    operating,  on a cooperative basis, the furnishing of natural
 9    gas to residences for the benefit of their  members  who  are
10    residential  consumers of natural gas; and (iv) the ownership
11    or operation of a facility that sells compressed natural  gas
12    at  retail to the public for use only as a motor vehicle fuel
13    and the selling of compressed natural gas at  retail  to  the
14    public for use only as a motor vehicle fuel.
15        "Gas  utility"  means  a  public  utility,  as defined in
16    Section 3-105 of this Act, that  has  a  franchise,  license,
17    permit,  or  right  to  furnish or sell gas or transportation
18    services to customers within a service area.
19        "Residential customer" means a customer who receives  gas
20    utility  service  for  household  purposes  distributed  to a
21    dwelling of  2  or  fewer  units  which  is  billed  under  a
22    residential   rate  or  gas  utility  service  for  household
23    purposes distributed to a dwelling unit  or  units  which  is
24    billed  under  a  residential  rate  and  is  registered by a
25    separate meter for each dwelling unit.
26        "Service area" means (i) the geographic area within which
27    a gas  utility  was  lawfully  entitled  to  provide  gas  to
28    customers  as of the effective date of this amendatory Act of
29    the 92nd General Assembly and includes (ii) the  location  of
30    any  customer to which the gas utility was lawfully providing
31    gas utility services on such effective date.
32        "Small commercial customer"  means  those  nonresidential
33    retail  customers of a natural gas utility or alternative gas
34    supplier consuming  5,000  therms  or  less  of  natural  gas
                            -3-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1    annually.
 2        "Tariffed  service" means a service provided to customers
 3    by a gas utility as defined by its rates  on  file  with  the
 4    Commission  pursuant  to the provisions of Article IX of this
 5    Act.
 6        "Transportation services" means those  services  provided
 7    by  the  gas  utility  that  are  necessary  in order for the
 8    storage, transmission and distribution systems to function so
 9    that customers located in the gas utility's service area  can
10    receive  gas  from  suppliers  other than the gas utility and
11    shall include,  without  limitation,  standard  metering  and
12    billing services.

13        (220 ILCS 5/19-110 new)
14        Sec. 19-110.  Certification of alternative gas suppliers.
15        (a)  The  provisions  of this Section shall apply only to
16    alternative  gas  suppliers  serving  or  seeking  to   serve
17    residential  or  small  commercial  customers and only to the
18    extent such alternative gas  suppliers  provide  services  to
19    residential or small commercial customers.
20        (b)  An   alternative   gas   supplier   must   obtain  a
21    certificate of  service  authority  from  the  Commission  in
22    accordance  with  this Section before serving any customer or
23    other  user  located  in  this  State.   An  alternative  gas
24    supplier  may  request,  and  the  Commission  may  grant,  a
25    certificate of service authority for the entire State or  for
26    a   specified  geographic  area  of  the  State.   A  person,
27    corporation, or other entity acting  as  an  alternative  gas
28    supplier  on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the
29    92nd General Assembly shall have 180 days from the  effective
30    date  of  this amendatory Act of the 92nd General Assembly to
31    comply with the requirements of  this  Section  in  order  to
32    continue to operate as an alternative gas supplier.
33        (c)  An alternative gas supplier seeking a certificate of
                            -4-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1    service  authority  shall file with the Commission a verified
 2    application containing information showing that the applicant
 3    meets the requirements of this Section.  The alternative  gas
 4    supplier  shall  publish  notice  of  its  application in the
 5    official State newspaper within 10 days following the date of
 6    its filing.  No later than 45 days after the  application  is
 7    properly  filed  with  the  Commission,  and  such  notice is
 8    published, the Commission shall issue its order  granting  or
 9    denying the application.
10        (d)  An   application   for   a  certificate  of  service
11    authority shall identify the  area  or  areas  in  which  the
12    applicant  intends to offer service and the types of services
13    it  intends  to  offer.   Applicants  that  seek   to   serve
14    residential  customers  within  a  geographic  area  that  is
15    smaller  than  a  gas  utility's  service  area  shall submit
16    evidence demonstrating that the designation of  this  smaller
17    area does not violate Section 19-115.  An applicant may state
18    in  its  application  for  certification any limitations that
19    will be imposed on the number of customers or maximum load to
20    be served.
21        (e)  The Commission shall grant  the  application  for  a
22    certificate of service authority if it makes the findings set
23    forth  in  this  subsection based on the verified application
24    and such other information as the applicant may submit.
25             (1)  That   the   applicant    possess    sufficient
26        technical,   financial,   and  managerial  resources  and
27        abilities to provide the service for  which  it  seeks  a
28        certificate  of  service  authority.   In determining the
29        level of technical, financial, and  managerial  resources
30        and  abilities  which the applicant must demonstrate, the
31        Commission shall consider the characteristics,  including
32        the  size  and  financial sophistication of the customers
33        that the applicant seeks to  serve,  and  shall  consider
34        whether   the   applicant  seeks  to  provide  gas  using
                            -5-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1        property, plant, and equipment that it owns, controls, or
 2        operates.
 3             (2)  That  the  applicant  will  comply   with   all
 4        applicable  federal, State, regional, and industry rules,
 5        policies,  practices,  and  procedures   for   the   use,
 6        operation,  and maintenance of the safety, integrity, and
 7        reliability of the gas transmission system.
 8             (3)  That  the  applicant  will  comply  with   such
 9        informational or reporting requirements as the Commission
10        may by rule establish.
11             (4)  That the area to be served by the applicant and
12        any limitations it proposes on the number of customers or
13        maximum  amount  of load to be served meet the provisions
14        of Section 19-115, provided, that if the applicant  seeks
15        to  serve  an area smaller than the service area of a gas
16        utility or proposes other limitations on  the  number  of
17        customers  or  maximum  amount  of load to be served, the
18        Commission can extend the time  for  considering  such  a
19        certificate  request  by  up to 90 days, and can schedule
20        hearings on such a request.
21             (5)  That the applicant will comply with  all  other
22        applicable laws and rules.
23        (f)  The   Commission   shall   have   the  authority  to
24    promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of this Section.
25    Within 30 days after the effective date  of  this  amendatory
26    Act  of the 92nd General Assembly, the Commission shall adopt
27    an emergency rule or rules applicable to the certification of
28    those gas suppliers that seek to serve residential customers.
29    Within 180 days of the effective date of this amendatory  Act
30    of  the  92nd  General  Assembly,  the Commission shall adopt
31    rules that  specify  criteria  which,  if  met  by  any  such
32    alternative  gas supplier, shall constitute the demonstration
33    of  technical,  financial,  and  managerial   resources   and
34    abilities   to  provide  service  required  by  item  (1)  of
                            -6-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1    subsection (e) of this Section, such as a requirement to post
 2    a bond or letter of credit,  from  a  responsible  surety  or
 3    financial  institution, of sufficient size for the nature and
 4    scope of  the  services  to  be  provided,  demonstration  of
 5    adequate  insurance  for the scope and nature of the services
 6    to be provided, and experience in providing similar  services
 7    in other jurisdictions.

 8        (220 ILCS 5/19-115 new)
 9        Sec. 19-115.  Obligations of alternative gas suppliers.
10        (a)  The  provisions  of this Section shall apply only to
11    alternative  gas  suppliers  serving  or  seeking  to   serve
12    residential  or  small  commercial  customers and only to the
13    extent such alternative gas  suppliers  provide  services  to
14    residential or small commercial customers.
15        (b)  An alternative gas supplier shall:
16             (1)  comply  with the requirements imposed on public
17        utilities by Sections 8-201 through 8-207,  8-301,  8-505
18        and  8-507 of this Act, to the extent that these Sections
19        have application to the services  being  offered  by  the
20        alternative gas supplier; and
21             (2)  continue  to  comply  with the requirements for
22        certification stated in Section 19-110.
23        (c)  An alternative gas supplier shall obtain  verifiable
24    authorization  from  a customer, in a form or manner approved
25    by the Commission,  before  the  customer  is  switched  from
26    another supplier.
27        (d)  No alternative gas supplier shall:
28             (1)  enter  into  or  employ  any arrangements which
29        have the effect of preventing any  customer  from  having
30        access  to  the  services  of  the  gas  utility in whose
31        service area the customer is located; or
32             (2)  charge customers for such access.
33        (e)  An alternative gas supplier  that  is  certified  to
                            -7-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1    serve residential or small commercial customers shall not:
 2             (1)  deny   service   to  a  customer  or  group  of
 3        customers nor establish any  differences  as  to  prices,
 4        terms,  conditions, services, products, facilities, or in
 5        any other respect, whereby such denial or differences are
 6        based upon race, gender, or income; or
 7             (2)  deny service based on locality,  nor  establish
 8        any   unreasonable   difference   as  to  prices,  terms,
 9        conditions, services, products, or facilities as  between
10        localities.
11        (f)  An  alternative  gas  supplier shall comply with the
12    following  requirements  with  respect  to   the   marketing,
13    offering, and provision of products or services:
14             (1)  Any  marketing  materials which make statements
15        concerning prices, terms, and conditions of service shall
16        contain information that adequately discloses the prices,
17        terms and conditions of the products or services.
18             (2)  Before any customer is  switched  from  another
19        supplier,  the  alternative  gas  supplier shall give the
20        customer written information that  adequately  discloses,
21        in  plain  language, the prices, terms, and conditions of
22        the products and services being offered and sold  to  the
23        customer.
24             (3)  The  alternative  gas supplier shall provide to
25        the customer:
26                  (A)  itemized billing statements that  describe
27             the  products  and services provided to the customer
28             and their prices and that, at a minimum, specify the
29             gas   consumption   amount,   price    per    therm,
30             distribution  charges,  and  any service charges and
31             taxes; and
32                  (B)  an   additional   statement,   at    least
33             annually,  that  adequately  discloses  the  average
34             monthly prices, and the terms and conditions, of the
                            -8-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1             products and services sold to the customer.
 2        The  Commission shall prescribe performance standards for
 3    alternative gas supplier billing  relating  to  accuracy  and
 4    timeliness of customer bills.
 5        (g)  An  alternative  gas  supplier may limit the overall
 6    size or availability of a service offering by specifying  one
 7    or more of the following:
 8             (1)  a  maximum  number  of  customers  and  maximum
 9        amount of gas load to be served;
10             (2)  time  period  during which the offering will be
11        available; or
12             (3)  other comparable limitation, but not  including
13        the  geographic  locations  of  customers within the area
14        which the alternative gas  supplier  is  certificated  to
15        serve.
16        The  alternative  gas  supplier  shall file the terms and
17    conditions of such service offering including the  applicable
18    limitations  with  the Commission prior to making the service
19    offering available to customers.
20        (h)  Nothing  in  this  Section  shall  be  construed  as
21    preventing an alternative gas supplier that is  an  affiliate
22    of,  or  which  contracts  with,  (i)  an  industry  or trade
23    organization or association, (ii) a  membership  organization
24    or  association  that  exists  for  a  purpose other than the
25    purchase of gas, or (iii)  another  organization  that  meets
26    criteria established in a rule adopted by the Commission from
27    offering  through the organization or association services at
28    prices, terms and conditions that are available solely to the
29    members of the organization or association.
30        (i)  Whenever an alternative gas  supplier  discovers  or
31    has  called to its attention a billing error or other mistake
32    resulting in an overpayment by a  customer,  the  alternative
33    gas  supplier  shall  automatically and immediately provide a
34    refund of the amount of  overpayment  plus  interest  to  the
                            -9-                LRB9214968JSpc
 1    customer.  An  alternative  gas  supplier  may  not require a
 2    customer to whom it owes a refund to submit a written request
 3    for the refund before the alternative gas  supplier  complies
 4    with the provisions of this subsection.
 5        (j)  If  an  alternative  gas supplier requires a deposit
 6    from a residential  or  small  commercial  customer  and  the
 7    customer has paid all bills from the alternative gas supplier
 8    in  a timely manner for a period of 6 months, the alternative
 9    gas supplier shall refund the deposit plus  interest  to  the
10    customer  within  30  days.  In all cases, a deposit shall be
11    automatically refunded with interest to a customer within  30
12    days  after  the date that the customer changes gas suppliers
13    or discontinues service if the customer has satisfied all  of
14    his   or   her   outstanding  financial  obligations  to  the
15    alternative gas supplier.

16        (220 ILCS 5/19-120 new)
17        Sec. 19-120.  Commission oversight of  services  provided
18    by gas suppliers.
19        (a)  The  provisions  of this Section shall apply only to
20    alternative  gas  suppliers  serving  or  seeking  to   serve
21    residential  or  small  commercial  customers and only to the
22    extent such alternative gas  suppliers  provide  services  to
23    residential or small commercial customers.
24        (b)  The Commission shall have jurisdiction in accordance
25    with the provisions of Article X of this Act to entertain and
26    dispose of any complaint against any alternative gas supplier
27    alleging that:
28             (1)  the alternative gas supplier has violated or is
29        in  nonconformance  with  any  applicable  provisions  of
30        Section 19-110 or Section 19-115;
31             (2)  an  alternative  gas  supplier  has  failed  to
32        provide  service  in  accordance  with  the  terms of its
33        contract or contracts with a customer or customers;
                            -10-               LRB9214968JSpc
 1             (3)  the alternative gas supplier has violated or is
 2        in nonconformance with the transportation services tariff
 3        of, or any of its agreements relating  to  transportation
 4        services  with,  the  gas  utility  or  municipal  system
 5        providing transportation services; or
 6             (4)  the  alternative  gas  supplier has violated or
 7        failed to comply with the requirements of Sections  8-201
 8        through 8-207, 8-301, 8-505, or 8-507 of this Act as made
 9        applicable to alternative gas suppliers.
10        (c)  The Commission shall have authority after notice and
11    hearing  held  on complaint or on the Commission's own motion
12    to:
13             (1)  order an alternative gas supplier to cease  and
14        desist,  or  correct,  any violation of or nonconformance
15        with the provisions of Section 19-110 or 19-115;
16             (2)  impose financial penalties for violations of or
17        nonconformances with the provisions of Section 19-110  or
18        19-115,  not to exceed (i) $10,000 per occurrence or (ii)
19        $30,000 per day for those violations  or  nonconformances
20        which    continue   after   the   Commission   issues   a
21        cease-and-desist order; and
22             (3)  alter,   modify,   revoke,   or   suspend   the
23        certificate of service authority of  an  alternative  gas
24        supplier  for  substantial  or  repeated violations of or
25        nonconformances with the provisions of Section 19-110  or
26        19-115.

27        (220 ILCS 5/19-125 new)
28        Sec.  19-125.  Non-discrimination; adoption of rules. The
29    Commission  shall  adopt  rules  governing  the  relationship
30    between the gas  utility  and  its  affiliates  and  ensuring
31    non-discrimination  in  services  provided  to  the utility's
32    affiliates and any competitors of the  utility's  affiliates,
33    including,     without     limitation,    cost    allocation,
                            -11-               LRB9214968JSpc
 1    cross-subsidization, and information sharing.  Gas  utilities
 2    and  their affiliates are prohibited from all joint marketing
 3    of services and products. This prohibition includes,  but  is
 4    not  limited  to,  an  affiliate  using the utility's name or
 5    logo.

 6        (220 ILCS 5/19-130 new)
 7        Sec.  19-130.  Services  provided  by  gas  utilities  to
 8    alternative gas suppliers; single billing.   In  any  service
 9    area  where  customers  are  able to choose their natural gas
10    supplier, a gas utility  shall  file  a  tariff  pursuant  to
11    Article  IX of this Act that allows alternative gas suppliers
12    or gas utilities other than the gas utility in whose  service
13    area  customers  are  located  to  issue  single bills to the
14    customers for both the services provided by  the  alternative
15    gas  supplier  or other gas utility and the delivery services
16    provided by the gas utility to customers.  The  tariff  filed
17    pursuant   to  this  subsection  shall  (i)  require  partial
18    payments made by customers to be credited first  to  the  gas
19    utility's   tariffed   services,   (ii)  impose  commercially
20    reasonable terms  with  respect  to  credit  and  collection,
21    including   requests  for  deposits,  (iii)  retain  the  gas
22    utility's right to  disconnect  customers,  if  it  does  not
23    receive payment for its tariffed services, in the same manner
24    that  it  would  be  permitted  to  if  it had billed for the
25    services  itself,  and  (iv)  require  the  alternative   gas
26    supplier  or other gas utility that elects the billing option
27    provided by this tariff to include on each bill to  customers
28    an  identification  of the gas utility providing the delivery
29    services and a listing  of  the  charges  applicable  to  the
30    service.  The  tariff filed pursuant to this Section may also
31    include other just and reasonable terms and conditions.

32        (220 ILCS 5/19-135 new)
                            -12-               LRB9214968JSpc
 1        Sec. 19-135.  Consumer education.
 2        (a)  The Commission shall make available upon request and
 3    at no charge, and shall make available to the public  on  the
 4    Internet through the State of Illinois World Wide Web site:
 5             (1)  a   list   of  all  certified  alternative  gas
 6        suppliers  serving  residential  and   small   commercial
 7        customers within the service area of each gas utility;
 8             (2)  a   list   of  all  certified  alternative  gas
 9        suppliers  serving  residential   or   small   commercial
10        customers that have been found in the last 3 years by the
11        Commission  pursuant  to Section 10-108 to have failed to
12        provide service in accordance with  the  terms  of  their
13        contracts with those customers;
14             (3)  guidelines  to  assist customers in determining
15        which gas supplier is most appropriate for each customer;
16        and
17             (4)  information in an easily understandable  format
18        that enables customers to compare all prices and services
19        of   every  gas  utility  and  alternative  gas  supplier
20        providing service within each service area.
21        (b)  The  Commission   shall   adopt   reasonable   rules
22    requiring  gas  utilities  and  alternative  gas suppliers to
23    provide notification to customers relating to where customers
24    may obtain such pricing information.
25        (c)  The Commission shall also adopt a uniform disclosure
26    form that alternative gas suppliers must complete  to  enable
27    consumers to compare prices, terms, and conditions offered by
28    the suppliers.

29        (220 ILCS 5/19-140 new)
30        Sec.  19-140.  Commission study and report.  Beginning in
31    2003, and ending in 2007, the  Commission  shall  prepare  an
32    annual  report  regarding  the  development  of  natural  gas
33    markets in Illinois.  The report shall be filed by April 1 of
                            -13-               LRB9214968JSpc
 1    each  year  with  the  Joint Committee on Legislative Support
 2    Services of the General Assembly and the Governor  and  shall
 3    be  publicly  available.  The  report  shall  include,  at  a
 4    minimum, the following information:
 5             (1)  the  aggregate  annual demand of retail natural
 6        gas customers in the State of Illinois in  the  preceding
 7        calendar year;
 8             (2)  the  total  annual therms delivered and sold to
 9        retail customers in the State of  Illinois  by  each  gas
10        utility  within  its  own  service area, each gas utility
11        outside its service area, and alternative  gas  suppliers
12        in the preceding calendar year;
13             (3)  the  percentage of therms delivered and sold to
14        customers in the  State  of  Illinois  in  the  preceding
15        calendar  year  by  each  gas  utility within its service
16        area, each gas utility outside its service area, and each
17        alternative gas supplier;
18             (4)  an analysis  of  the  benefits  consumers  have
19        achieved   through   the  market,  if  any,  including  a
20        comparison of the average cost of natural gas for utility
21        customers  and  the  average  cost  of  natural  gas  for
22        customers of alternative gas suppliers; and
23             (5)  any other information the Commission  considers
24        significant  in  assessing the development of gas markets
25        in the State of Illinois.

26        Section 99.  Effective date.  This Act takes effect  upon
27    becoming law.

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