* Press release…
The Illinois Commerce Commission is pleased to announce that several of the state’s large and small regulated electric, natural gas, water and sewer utilities have voluntarily agreed to keep residential customers connected for an additional month due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. The moratorium on disconnections expired on July 26, 2020, however, with the voluntary extension, disconnections for residential customers will not occur for most customers until September 2020. Several utilities have also extended similar relief to business customers and have agreed to continue waiving late fees.
Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Consumer Gas, ComEd, Illinois American Water, Liberty, Nicor, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, Utility Services of Illinois are among the utilities with extended moratoriums on service disconnections.
“No one should have to fear losing life-saving utility service during a pandemic. The Commission appreciates the companies’ recognition of the continuing public health emergency and their voluntary efforts to provide much needed additional relief to affected customers,” said ICC Executive Director Christy George.
On June 18, 2020, the Commission approved the landmark COVID-19 utility relief agreements in Docket No. 20-0309, which were the product of negotiations between thirteen utility companies and numerous consumer advocacy groups and parties. In addition to extending the moratorium on disconnections and late payment fees, the agreements provided historic consumer protections involving utility credit and collection practices, deferred payment agreements, and temporary waivers of reconnection fees and new deposit requirements.
I followed up with the ICC and was told three utilities have not yet agreed to the disconnection moratorium extension. MidAmerican Energy is the largest, with about 85,000 Illinois customers. Illinois Gas has about 9,000 customers and Mt. Carmel (which is both electric and gas) serves just over 5,000 customers here.