3/19/2020 1:52:00 PM ICC votes to ban utility disconnections, suspend late fees
CHICAGO — The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) on Wednesday in Regular Open Session voted unanimously to formalize Governor Pritzker and the ICC’s request of Illinois electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities to cease disconnections and the threat of disconnections during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency. The order also calls on the utilities to suspend late payment fees until May 1, or the crisis has passed, and to implement flexible utility credit and collection procedures to ensure customers remain connected to essential utility services when the emergency status ends.
“Life changed seemingly overnight for all Illinois residents due to COVID-19. As regulators, it is our responsibility to balance the interest of the utilities with the needs of consumers. Now is not the time to be cutting off potentially life-saving utility services. Ceasing disconnections and threatening notices, and hefty fines will give residents some much-needed peace of mind during these difficult days,” said Illinois Commerce Commission Chairman Carrie Zalewski.
“The citizens of Illinois are being asked to take unprecedented steps to curb the spread of this dangerous virus. By staying at home and limiting contact with others, many businesses are now faced with closure or reducing operations leaving many people with little or no pay in the coming weeks,” said Commissioner Sadzi Martha Oliva. “This emergency order ensures that no one loses power, natural gas or running water because they can’t afford to pay their bills during these hard times. If we all work together, we can make it through this crisis.”