On Monday, the Illinois Commerce Commission announced the moratorium on disconnections has voluntarily been extended by several state regulated utilities through the Winter 2021 for eligible low-income residential customers, and those who self-report to utilities that they are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship. Previously, several of the utilities had voluntarily agreed to extend the moratorium on shutoffs for residential customers until September 30, 2020. At the request of the ICC, the following utilities have committed to extending the moratorium on utility disconnections for low-income (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program qualified) residential customers and those financially impacted by COVID-19 until March 31, 2021: Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, Commonwealth Edison, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and Utility Services of Illinois. MidAmerican will voluntarily extend the moratorium on disconnections for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program qualified residential customers through March 31, 2021 and is further considering additional options to help their customers during this unprecedented time. Additionally, Nicor Gas and Liberty Utilities have agreed to extend the moratorium on disconnections for all residential customers until March 31, 2021. The ICC reminds customers to call the utility company if you have missed bill payments or you are struggling to pay your bill. No documentation or written proof is necessary, but you must make the phone call and verbalize your difficulty. This action will ensure a continuation of utility service. Deferred payment arrangements are also available for both residential and small business customers needing help managing their utility bill obligation during these difficult times. On June 18, 2020, the Commission approved landmark COVID-19 utility relief agreements in Docket No. 20-0309, which were the product of negotiations between thirteen utility companies and numerous consumer advocate groups and parties. In addition to extending the moratoriums on disconnections and late payment fees, the agreements provided historic consumer protections involving utility credit and collection practices, deferred payment agreements, temporary waivers of reconnection fees and new deposit requirements.
More details on the Stipulations, each utility’s commitments and compliance reports are available on the Commission website in the ICC Docket 20-0309. To learn more about the Commission’s response to COVID-19, please visit: www.icc.illinois.gov/home/covid-19.