Bill Text: IL SB0651 | 2019-2020 | 101st General Assembly | Chaptered


Bill Title: Amends the Public Utilities Act. Makes a technical change in a Section concerning the short title and applicability of the Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 71-9)

Status: (Passed) 2019-08-27 - Public Act . . . . . . . . . 101-0590 [SB0651 Detail]

Download: Illinois-2019-SB0651-Chaptered.html



Public Act 101-0590
SB0651 EnrolledLRB101 04244 JRG 49252 b
AN ACT concerning regulation.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
Section 1. This Act may be referred to as the Home Energy
Affordability and Transparency (HEAT) Act.
Section 5. The Public Utilities Act is amended by changing
Sections 16-115, 16-115A, 16-115B, 16-118, 16-119, 16-123,
19-110, 19-115, 19-120, 19-130, 19-135, and 20-110 and by
adding Sections 16-115E and 19-116 as follows:
(220 ILCS 5/16-115)
Sec. 16-115. Certification of alternative retail electric
suppliers.
(a) Any alternative retail electric supplier must obtain a
certificate of service authority from the Commission in
accordance with this Section before serving any retail customer
or other user located in this State. An alternative retail
electric supplier may request, and the Commission may grant, a
certificate of service authority for the entire State or for a
specified geographic area of the State.
(b) An alternative retail electric supplier seeking a
certificate of service authority shall file with the Commission
a verified application containing information showing that the
applicant meets the requirements of this Section. The
alternative retail electric supplier shall publish notice of
its application in the official State newspaper within 10 days
following the date of its filing. No later than 45 days after
the application is properly filed with the Commission, and such
notice is published, the Commission shall issue its order
granting or denying the application.
(c) An application for a certificate of service authority
shall identify the area or areas in which the applicant intends
to offer service and the types of services it intends to offer.
Applicants that seek to serve residential or small commercial
retail customers within a geographic area that is smaller than
an electric utility's service area shall submit evidence
demonstrating that the designation of this smaller area does
not violate Section 16-115A. An applicant that seeks to serve
residential or small commercial retail customers may state in
its application for certification any limitations that will be
imposed on the number of customers or maximum load to be
served.
(d) The Commission shall grant the application for a
certificate of service authority if it makes the findings set
forth in this subsection based on the verified application and
such other information as the applicant may submit:
(1) That the applicant possesses sufficient technical,
financial and managerial resources and abilities to
provide the service for which it seeks a certificate of
service authority. In determining the level of technical,
financial and managerial resources and abilities which the
applicant must demonstrate, the Commission shall consider
(i) the characteristics, including the size and financial
sophistication, of the customers that the applicant seeks
to serve, and (ii) whether the applicant seeks to provide
electric power and energy using property, plant and
equipment which it owns, controls or operates;
(2) That the applicant will comply with all applicable
federal, State, regional and industry rules, policies,
practices and procedures for the use, operation, and
maintenance of the safety, integrity and reliability, of
the interconnected electric transmission system;
(3) That the applicant will only provide service to
retail customers in an electric utility's service area that
are eligible to take delivery services under this Act;
(4) That the applicant will comply with such
informational or reporting requirements as the Commission
may by rule establish and provide the information required
by Section 16-112. Any data related to contracts for the
purchase and sale of electric power and energy shall be
made available for review by the Staff of the Commission on
a confidential and proprietary basis and only to the extent
and for the purposes which the Commission determines are
reasonably necessary in order to carry out the purposes of
this Act;
(5) That the applicant will procure renewable energy
resources in accordance with Section 16-115D of this Act,
and will source electricity from clean coal facilities, as
defined in Section 1-10 of the Illinois Power Agency Act,
in amounts at least equal to the percentages set forth in
subsections (c) and (d) of Section 1-75 of the Illinois
Power Agency Act. For purposes of this Section:
(i) (Blank);
(ii) (Blank);
(iii) the required sourcing of electricity
generated by clean coal facilities, other than the
initial clean coal facility, shall be limited to the
amount of electricity that can be procured or sourced
at a price at or below the benchmarks approved by the
Commission each year in accordance with item (1) of
subsection (c) and items (1) and (5) of subsection (d)
of Section 1-75 of the Illinois Power Agency Act;
(iv) all alternative retail electric suppliers
shall execute a sourcing agreement to source
electricity from the initial clean coal facility, on
the terms set forth in paragraphs (3) and (4) of
subsection (d) of Section 1-75 of the Illinois Power
Agency Act, except that in lieu of the requirements in
subparagraphs (A)(v), (B)(i), (C)(v), and (C)(vi) of
paragraph (3) of that subsection (d), the applicant
shall execute one or more of the following:
(1) if the sourcing agreement is a power
purchase agreement, a contract with the initial
clean coal facility to purchase in each hour an
amount of electricity equal to all clean coal
energy made available from the initial clean coal
facility during such hour, which the utilities are
not required to procure under the terms of
subsection (d) of Section 1-75 of the Illinois
Power Agency Act, multiplied by a fraction, the
numerator of which is the alternative retail
electric supplier's retail market sales of
electricity (expressed in kilowatthours sold) in
the State during the prior calendar month and the
denominator of which is the total sales of
electricity (expressed in kilowatthours sold) in
the State by alternative retail electric suppliers
during such prior month that are subject to the
requirements of this paragraph (5) of subsection
(d) of this Section and subsection (d) of Section
1-75 of the Illinois Power Agency Act plus the
total sales of electricity (expressed in
kilowatthours sold) by utilities outside of their
service areas during such prior month, pursuant to
subsection (c) of Section 16-116 of this Act; or
(2) if the sourcing agreement is a contract for
differences, a contract with the initial clean
coal facility in each hour with respect to an
amount of electricity equal to all clean coal
energy made available from the initial clean coal
facility during such hour, which the utilities are
not required to procure under the terms of
subsection (d) of Section 1-75 of the Illinois
Power Agency Act, multiplied by a fraction, the
numerator of which is the alternative retail
electric supplier's retail market sales of
electricity (expressed in kilowatthours sold) in
the State during the prior calendar month and the
denominator of which is the total sales of
electricity (expressed in kilowatthours sold) in
the State by alternative retail electric suppliers
during such prior month that are subject to the
requirements of this paragraph (5) of subsection
(d) of this Section and subsection (d) of Section
1-75 of the Illinois Power Agency Act plus the
total sales of electricity (expressed in
kilowatthours sold) by utilities outside of their
service areas during such prior month, pursuant to
subsection (c) of Section 16-116 of this Act;
(v) if, in any year after the first year of
commercial operation, the owner of the clean coal
facility fails to demonstrate to the Commission that
the initial clean coal facility captured and
sequestered at least 50% of the total carbon emissions
that the facility would otherwise emit or that
sequestration of emissions from prior years has
failed, resulting in the release of carbon into the
atmosphere, the owner of the facility must offset
excess emissions. Any such carbon offsets must be
permanent, additional, verifiable, real, located
within the State of Illinois, and legally and
practicably enforceable. The costs of any such offsets
that are not recoverable shall not exceed $15 million
in any given year. No costs of any such purchases of
carbon offsets may be recovered from an alternative
retail electric supplier or its customers. All carbon
offsets purchased for this purpose and any carbon
emission credits associated with sequestration of
carbon from the facility must be permanently retired.
The initial clean coal facility shall not forfeit its
designation as a clean coal facility if the facility
fails to fully comply with the applicable carbon
sequestration requirements in any given year, provided
the requisite offsets are purchased. However, the
Attorney General, on behalf of the People of the State
of Illinois, may specifically enforce the facility's
sequestration requirement and the other terms of this
contract provision. Compliance with the sequestration
requirements and offset purchase requirements that
apply to the initial clean coal facility shall be
reviewed annually by an independent expert retained by
the owner of the initial clean coal facility, with the
advance written approval of the Attorney General;
(vi) The Commission shall, after notice and
hearing, revoke the certification of any alternative
retail electric supplier that fails to execute a
sourcing agreement with the initial clean coal
facility as required by item (5) of subsection (d) of
this Section. The sourcing agreements with this
initial clean coal facility shall be subject to both
approval of the initial clean coal facility by the
General Assembly and satisfaction of the requirements
of item (4) of subsection (d) of Section 1-75 of the
Illinois Power Agency Act, and shall be executed within
90 days after any such approval by the General
Assembly. The Commission shall not accept an
application for certification from an alternative
retail electric supplier that has lost certification
under this subsection (d), or any corporate affiliate
thereof, for at least one year from the date of
revocation;
(6) With respect to an applicant that seeks to serve
residential or small commercial retail customers, that the
area to be served by the applicant and any limitations it
proposes on the number of customers or maximum amount of
load to be served meet the provisions of Section 16-115A,
provided, that the Commission can extend the time for
considering such a certificate request by up to 90 days,
and can schedule hearings on such a request;
(7) That the applicant meets the requirements of
subsection (a) of Section 16-128; and
(8) That the applicant discloses whether the applicant
is the subject of any lawsuit filed in a court of law or
formal complaint filed with a regulatory agency alleging
fraud, deception, or unfair marketing practices or other
similar allegations and, if the applicant is the subject of
such lawsuit or formal complaint, the applicant shall
identify the name, case number, and jurisdiction of each
lawsuit or complaint. For the purpose of this item (8),
"formal complaint" includes only those complaints that
seek a binding determination from a State or federal
regulatory body;
(9) That the applicant shall continue to comply with
requirements for certification stated in this Section;
(10) That the applicant shall execute and maintain a
license or permit bond issued by a qualifying surety or
insurance company authorized to transact business in the
State of Illinois in favor of the People of the State of
Illinois. The amount of the bond shall equal $30,000 if the
applicant seeks to serve only nonresidential retail
customers with maximum electrical demands of one megawatt
or more, $150,000 if the applicant seeks to serve only
non-residential retail customers with annual electrical
consumption greater than 15,000 kWh, or $500,000 if the
applicant seeks to serve all eligible customers.
Applicants shall be required to submit an additional
$500,000 bond if the applicant intends to market to
residential customers using in-person solicitations. The
bond shall be conditioned upon the full and faithful
performance of all duties and obligations of the applicant
as an alternative retail electric supplier and shall be
valid for a period of not less than one year. The cost of
the bond shall be paid by the applicant. The applicant
shall file a copy of this bond, with a notarized
verification page from the issuer, as part of its
application for certification under 83 Ill. Adm. Code 451;
and
(11) (8) That the applicant will comply with all other
applicable laws and regulations.
(d-3) The Commission may deny with prejudice an application
in which the applicant fails to provide the Commission with
information sufficient for the Commission to grant the
application.
(d-5) (Blank).
(e) A retail customer that owns a cogeneration or
self-generation facility and that seeks certification only to
provide electric power and energy from such facility to retail
customers at separate locations which customers are both (i)
owned by, or a subsidiary or other corporate affiliate of, such
applicant and (ii) eligible for delivery services, shall be
granted a certificate of service authority upon filing an
application and notifying the Commission that it has entered
into an agreement with the relevant electric utilities pursuant
to Section 16-118. Provided, however, that if the retail
customer owning such cogeneration or self-generation facility
would not be charged a transition charge due to the exemption
provided under subsection (f) of Section 16-108 prior to the
certification, and the retail customers at separate locations
are taking delivery services in conjunction with purchasing
power and energy from the facility, the retail customer on
whose premises the facility is located shall not thereafter be
required to pay transition charges on the power and energy that
such retail customer takes from the facility.
(f) The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate
rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this
Section. On or before May 1, 1999, the Commission shall adopt a
rule or rules applicable to the certification of those
alternative retail electric suppliers that seek to serve only
nonresidential retail customers with maximum electrical
demands of one megawatt or more which shall provide for (i)
expedited and streamlined procedures for certification of such
alternative retail electric suppliers and (ii) specific
criteria which, if met by any such alternative retail electric
supplier, shall constitute the demonstration of technical,
financial and managerial resources and abilities to provide
service required by subsection (d) (1) of this Section, such as
a requirement to post a bond or letter of credit, from a
responsible surety or financial institution, of sufficient
size for the nature and scope of the services to be provided;
demonstration of adequate insurance for the scope and nature of
the services to be provided; and experience in providing
similar services in other jurisdictions.
(g) An alternative retail electric supplier may seek
confidential treatment for the following information by filing
an affidavit with the Commission so long as the affidavit meets
the requirements in this subsection (g):
(1) the total annual kilowatt-hours delivered and sold
by an alternative retail electric supplier to retail
customers within each utility service territory and the
total annual kilowatt-hours delivered and sold by an
alternative retail electric supplier to retail customers
in all utility service territories in the preceding
calendar year as required by 83 Ill. Adm. Code 451.770;
(2) the total peak demand supplied by an alternative
retail electric supplier during the previous year in each
utility service territory as required by 83 Ill. Adm. Code
465.40;
(3) a good faith estimate of the amount an alternative
retail electric supplier expects to be obliged to pay the
utility under single billing tariffs during the next 12
months and the amount of any bond or letter of credit used
to demonstrate an alternative retail electric supplier's
credit worthiness to provide single billing services
pursuant to 83 Ill. Adm. Code 451.510(a) and (b).
The affidavit must be filed contemporaneously with the
information for which confidential treatment is sought and must
clearly state that the affiant seeks confidential treatment
pursuant to this subsection (g) and the information for which
confidential treatment is sought must be clearly identified on
the confidential version of the document filed with the
Commission. The affidavit must be accompanied by a
"confidential" and a "public" version of the document or
documents containing the information for which confidential
treatment is sought.
If the alternative retail electric supplier has met the
affidavit requirements of this subsection (g), then the
Commission shall afford confidential treatment to the
information identified in the affidavit for a period of 2 years
after the date the affidavit is received by the Commission.
Nothing in this subsection (g) prevents an alternative
retail electric supplier from filing a petition with the
Commission seeking confidential treatment for information
beyond that identified in this subsection (g) or for
information contained in other reports or documents filed with
the Commission.
Nothing in this subsection (g) prevents the Commission, on
its own motion, or any party from filing a formal petition with
the Commission seeking to reconsider the conferring of
confidential status on an item of information afforded
confidential treatment pursuant to this subsection (g).
The Commission, on its own motion, may at any time initiate
a docketed proceeding to investigate the continued
applicability of this subsection (g) to the information
contained in items (i), (ii), and (iii) of this subsection (g).
If, at the end of such investigation, the Commission determines
that a particular item of information should no longer be
eligible for the affidavit-based process outlined in this
subsection (g), the Commission may enter an order to remove
that item from the list of items eligible for the process set
forth in this subsection (g). Notwithstanding any such order,
in the event the Commission makes such a determination, nothing
in this subsection (g) prevents an alternative retail electric
supplier desiring confidential treatment for such information
from filing a formal petition with the Commission seeking
confidential treatment for such information.
(Source: P.A. 99-332, eff. 8-10-15.)
(220 ILCS 5/16-115A)
Sec. 16-115A. Obligations of alternative retail electric
suppliers.
(a) An alternative retail electric supplier shall:
(i) shall comply with the requirements imposed on
public utilities by Sections 8-201 through 8-207, 8-301,
8-505 and 8-507 of this Act, to the extent that these
Sections have application to the services being offered by
the alternative retail electric supplier; and
(ii) shall continue to comply with the requirements for
certification stated in subsection (d) of Section 16-115; .
(iii) by May 31, 2020 and every May 31 thereafter,
shall submit to the Commission and the Office of the
Attorney General the rates the retail electric supplier
charged to residential customers in the prior year,
including each distinct rate charged and whether the rate
was a fixed or variable rate, the basis for the variable
rate, and any fees charged in addition to the supply rate,
including monthly fees, flat fees, or other service
charges; and
(iv) shall make publicly available on its website,
without the need for a customer login, rate information for
all of its variable, time-of-use, and fixed rate contracts
currently available to residential customers, including,
but not limited to, fixed monthly charges, early
termination fees, and kilowatt-hour charges.
(b) An alternative retail electric supplier shall obtain
verifiable authorization from a customer, in a form or manner
approved by the Commission consistent with Section 2EE of the
Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, before the
customer is switched from another supplier.
(c) No alternative retail electric supplier, or electric
utility other than the electric utility in whose service area a
customer is located, shall (i) enter into or employ any
arrangements which have the effect of preventing a retail
customer with a maximum electrical demand of less than one
megawatt from having access to the services of the electric
utility in whose service area the customer is located or (ii)
charge retail customers for such access. This subsection shall
not be construed to prevent an arms-length agreement between a
supplier and a retail customer that sets a term of service,
notice period for terminating service and provisions governing
early termination through a tariff or contract as allowed by
Section 16-119.
(d) An alternative retail electric supplier that is
certified to serve residential or small commercial retail
customers shall not:
(1) deny service to a customer or group of customers
nor establish any differences as to prices, terms,
conditions, services, products, facilities, or in any
other respect, whereby such denial or differences are based
upon race, gender or income, except as provided in Section
16-115E.
(2) deny service to a customer or group of customers
based on locality nor establish any unreasonable
difference as to prices, terms, conditions, services,
products, or facilities as between localities.
(e) An alternative retail electric supplier shall comply
with the following requirements with respect to the marketing,
offering and provision of products or services to residential
and small commercial retail customers:
(i) All Any marketing materials, including, but not
limited to, electronic marketing materials, in-person
solicitations, and telephone solicitations, which make
statements concerning prices, terms and conditions of
service shall contain information that adequately
discloses the prices, terms, and conditions of the products
or services that the alternative retail electric supplier
is offering or selling to the customer and shall disclose
the current utility electric supply price to compare
applicable at the time the alternative retail electric
supplier is offering or selling the products or services to
the customer and shall disclose the date on which the
utility electric supply price to compare became effective
and the date on which it will expire. The utility electric
supply price to compare shall be the sum of the electric
supply charge and the transmission services charge and
shall not include the purchased electricity adjustment.
The disclosure shall include a statement that the price to
compare does not include the purchased electricity
adjustment, and, if applicable, the range of the purchased
electricity adjustment. All marketing materials,
including, but not limited to, electronic marketing
materials, in-person solicitations, and telephone
solicitations, shall include the following statement: .
"(Name of the alternative retail electric
supplier) is not the same entity as your electric
delivery company. You are not required to enroll with
(name of alternative retail electric supplier).
Beginning on (effective date), the electric supply
price to compare is (price in cents per kilowatt hour).
The electric utility electric supply price will expire
on (expiration date). The utility electric supply
price to compare does not include the purchased
electricity adjustment factor. For more information go
to the Illinois Commerce Commission's free website at
www.pluginillinois.org.".
If applicable, the statement shall also include the
following statement:
"The purchased electricity adjustment factor may
range between +.5 cents and -.5 cents per kilowatt
hour.".
This paragraph (i) does not apply to goodwill or
institutional advertising.
(ii) Before any customer is switched from another
supplier, the alternative retail electric supplier shall
give the customer written information that adequately
discloses, in plain language, the prices, terms and
conditions of the products and services being offered and
sold to the customer. This written information shall be
provided in a language in which the customer subject to the
marketing or solicitation is able to understand and
communicate, and the alternative retail electric supplier
shall not switch a customer who is unable to understand and
communicate in a language in which the marketing or
solicitation was conducted. The alternative retail
electric supplier shall comply with Section 2N of the
Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
(iii) An alternative retail electric supplier shall
provide documentation to the Commission and to customers
that substantiates any claims made by the alternative
retail electric supplier regarding the technologies and
fuel types used to generate the electricity offered or sold
to customers.
(iv) The alternative retail electric supplier shall
provide to the customer (1) itemized billing statements
that describe the products and services provided to the
customer and their prices, and (2) an additional statement,
at least annually, that adequately discloses the average
monthly prices, and the terms and conditions, of the
products and services sold to the customer.
(v) All in-person and telephone solicitations shall be
conducted in, translated into, and provided in a language
in which the consumer subject to the marketing or
solicitation is able to understand and communicate. An
alternative retail electric supplier shall terminate a
solicitation if the consumer subject to the marketing or
communication is unable to understand and communicate in
the language in which the marketing or solicitation is
being conducted. An alternative retail electric supplier
shall comply with Section 2N of the Consumer Fraud and
Deceptive Business Practices Act.
(vi) Each alternative retail electric supplier shall
conduct training for individual representatives engaged in
in-person solicitation and telemarketing to residential
customers on behalf of that alternative retail electric
supplier prior to conducting any such solicitations on the
alternative retail electric supplier's behalf. Each
alternative retail electric supplier shall submit a copy of
its training material to the Commission on an annual basis
and the Commission shall have the right to review and
require updates to the material. After initial training,
each alternative retail electric supplier shall be
required to conduct refresher training for its individual
representatives every 6 months.
(f) An alternative retail electric supplier may limit the
overall size or availability of a service offering by
specifying one or more of the following: a maximum number of
customers, maximum amount of electric load to be served, time
period during which the offering will be available, or other
comparable limitation, but not including the geographic
locations of customers within the area which the alternative
retail electric supplier is certificated to serve. The
alternative retail electric supplier shall file the terms and
conditions of such service offering including the applicable
limitations with the Commission prior to making the service
offering available to customers.
(g) Nothing in this Section shall be construed as
preventing an alternative retail electric supplier, which is an
affiliate of, or which contracts with, (i) an industry or trade
organization or association, (ii) a membership organization or
association that exists for a purpose other than the purchase
of electricity, or (iii) another organization that meets
criteria established in a rule adopted by the Commission, from
offering through the organization or association services at
prices, terms and conditions that are available solely to the
members of the organization or association.
(Source: P.A. 90-561, eff. 12-16-97.)
(220 ILCS 5/16-115B)
Sec. 16-115B. Commission oversight of services provided by
alternative retail electric suppliers.
(a) The Commission shall have jurisdiction in accordance
with the provisions of Article X of this Act to entertain and
dispose of any complaint against any alternative retail
electric supplier alleging (i) that the alternative retail
electric supplier has violated or is in nonconformance with any
applicable provisions of Section 16-115 through Section
16-115A; (ii) that an alternative retail electric supplier
serving retail customers having maximum demands of less than
one megawatt has failed to provide service in accordance with
the terms of its contract or contracts with such customer or
customers; (iii) that the alternative retail electric supplier
has violated or is in non-conformance with the delivery
services tariff of, or any of its agreements relating to
delivery services with, the electric utility, municipal
system, or electric cooperative providing delivery services;
or (iv) that the alternative retail electric supplier has
violated or failed to comply with the requirements of Sections
8-201 through 8-207, 8-301, 8-505, or 8-507 of this Act as made
applicable to alternative retail electric suppliers.
(b) The Commission shall have authority, after notice and
hearing held on complaint or on the Commission's own motion:
(1) To order an alternative retail electric supplier to
cease and desist, or correct, any violation of or
non-conformance with the provisions of Section 16-115 or
16-115A;
(2) To impose financial penalties for violations of or
non-conformances with the provisions of Section 16-115 or
16-115A, not to exceed (i) $10,000 per occurrence or (ii)
$30,000 per day for those violations or non-conformances
which continue after the Commission issues a cease and
desist order; and
(3) To alter, modify, revoke or suspend the certificate
of service authority of an alternative retail electric
supplier for substantial or repeated violations of or
non-conformances with the provisions of Section 16-115 or
16-115A.
(c) In addition to other powers and authority granted to it
under this Act, the Commission may require an alternative
retail electric supplier to enter into a compliance plan. If
the Commission comes into possession of information causing it
to conclude that an alternative retail electric supplier is
violating this Act or the Commission's rules, the Commission
may, after notice and hearing, enter an order directing the
alternative retail electric supplier to implement practices,
procedures, oversight, or other measures or refrain from
practices, conduct, or activities that the Commission finds is
necessary or reasonable to ensure the alternative retail
electric supplier's compliance with this Act and the
Commission's rules. Failure by an alternative retail electric
supplier to implement or comply with a Commission-ordered
compliance plan is a violation of this Section. The Commission,
in its discretion, may order a compliance plan under such
circumstances as it considers warranted and is not required to
order a compliance plan prior to taking other enforcement
action against an alternative retail electric supplier.
Nothing in this subsection (c) shall be interpreted to limit
the authority or right of the Attorney General.
(Source: P.A. 90-561, eff. 12-16-97.)
(220 ILCS 5/16-115E new)
Sec. 16-115E. Alternative retail electric supplier utility
assistance recipient.
(a) Beginning January 1, 2020, an alternative retail
electric supplier shall not knowingly submit an enrollment to
change a customer's electric supplier if the electric utility's
records indicate that the customer either received financial
assistance in the previous 12 months from the Low Income Home
Energy Assistance Program or, at the time of enrollment is
participating in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan, unless
(1) the customer's change in electric supplier is pursuant to a
government aggregation program adopted in accordance with
Section 1-92 of the Illinois Power Agency Act, or (2) the
customer's change in electric supplier is pursuant to a
Commission-approved savings guarantee plan as described in
subsection (b).
(b) Beginning January 1, 2020, an alternative retail
electric supplier may apply to the Commission to offer a
savings guarantee plan to recipients of Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program funding or Percentage of Income Payment Plan
funding. The Commission shall initiate a public, docketed
proceeding to consider whether or not to approve an alternative
retail electric supplier's application to offer a savings
guarantee plan. At a minimum, the savings guarantee plan shall
charge customers for electric supply at an amount that is less
than the amount charged by the electric utility.
(c) An agreement entered into between an alternative retail
electric supplier and a customer in violation of this Section
is void and unenforceable. Before the electric utility executes
a change in a customer's electric supplier, other than a change
pursuant to a government aggregation program adopted in
accordance with Section 1-92 of the Illinois Power Agency Act
or a Commission-approved savings guarantee plan as described in
subsection (b), the electric utility shall confirm at the time
of the request whether its records indicate that the customer
either has received financial assistance from the Low Income
Home Energy Assistance Program in the previous 12 months or, at
the time of enrollment, is participating in the Percentage of
Income Payment Plan; and if so, shall reject such change
request. Absent willful or wanton misconduct, no electric
utility shall be held liable for any error in acting or failing
to act pursuant to this Section.
(220 ILCS 5/16-118)
Sec. 16-118. Services provided by electric utilities to
alternative retail electric suppliers.
(a) It is in the best interest of Illinois energy consumers
to promote fair and open competition in the provision of
electric power and energy and to prevent anticompetitive
practices in the provision of electric power and energy.
Therefore, to the extent an electric utility provides electric
power and energy or delivery services to alternative retail
electric suppliers and such services are not subject to the
jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and
are not competitive services, they shall be provided through
tariffs that are filed with the Commission, pursuant to Article
IX of this Act. Each electric utility shall permit alternative
retail electric suppliers to interconnect facilities to those
owned by the utility provided they meet established standards
for such interconnection, and may provide standby or other
services to alternative retail electric suppliers. The
alternative retail electric supplier shall sign a contract
setting forth the prices, terms and conditions for
interconnection with the electric utility and the prices, terms
and conditions for services provided by the electric utility to
the alternative retail electric supplier in connection with the
delivery by the electric utility of electric power and energy
supplied by the alternative retail electric supplier.
(b) An electric utility shall file a tariff pursuant to
Article IX of the Act that would allow alternative retail
electric suppliers or electric utilities other than the
electric utility in whose service area retail customers are
located to issue single bills to the retail customers for both
the services provided by such alternative retail electric
supplier or other electric utility and the delivery services
provided by the electric utility to such customers. The tariff
filed pursuant to this subsection shall (i) require partial
payments made by retail customers to be credited first to the
electric utility's tariffed services, (ii) impose commercially
reasonable terms with respect to credit and collection,
including requests for deposits, (iii) retain the electric
utility's right to disconnect the retail customers, if it does
not receive payment for its tariffed services, in the same
manner that it would be permitted to if it had billed for the
services itself, and (iv) require the alternative retail
electric supplier or other electric utility that elects the
billing option provided by this tariff to include on each bill
to retail customers an identification of the electric utility
providing the delivery services and a listing of the charges
applicable to such services. The tariff filed pursuant to this
subsection may also include other just and reasonable terms and
conditions. In addition, an electric utility, an alternative
retail electric supplier or electric utility other than the
electric utility in whose service area the customer is located,
and a customer served by such alternative retail electric
supplier or other electric utility, may enter into an agreement
pursuant to which the alternative retail electric supplier or
other electric utility pays the charges specified in Section
16-108, or other customer-related charges, including taxes and
fees, in lieu of such charges being recovered by the electric
utility directly from the customer.
(c) An electric utility with more than 100,000 customers
shall file a tariff pursuant to Article IX of this Act that
provides alternative retail electric suppliers, and electric
utilities other than the electric utility in whose service area
the retail customers are located, with the option to have the
electric utility purchase their receivables for power and
energy service provided to residential retail customers and
non-residential retail customers with a non-coincident peak
demand of less than 400 kilowatts. Receivables for power and
energy service of alternative retail electric suppliers or
electric utilities other than the electric utility in whose
service area the retail customers are located shall be
purchased by the electric utility at a just and reasonable
discount rate to be reviewed and approved by the Commission
after notice and hearing. The discount rate shall be based on
the electric utility's historical bad debt and any reasonable
start-up costs and administrative costs associated with the
electric utility's purchase of receivables. The discounted
rate for purchase of receivables shall be included in the
tariff filed pursuant to this subsection (c). The discount rate
filed pursuant to this subsection (c) shall be subject to
periodic Commission review. The electric utility retains the
right to impose the same terms on retail customers with respect
to credit and collection, including requests for deposits, and
retain the electric utility's right to disconnect the retail
customers, if it does not receive payment for its tariffed
services or purchased receivables, in the same manner that it
would be permitted to if the retail customers purchased power
and energy from the electric utility. The tariff filed pursuant
to this subsection (c) shall permit the electric utility to
recover from retail customers any uncollected receivables that
may arise as a result of the purchase of receivables under this
subsection (c), may also include other just and reasonable
terms and conditions, and shall provide for the prudently
incurred costs associated with the provision of this service
pursuant to this subsection (c). Nothing in this subsection (c)
permits the double recovery of bad debt expenses from
customers.
(d) An electric utility with more than 100,000 customers
shall file a tariff pursuant to Article IX of this Act that
would provide alternative retail electric suppliers or
electric utilities other than the electric utility in whose
service area retail customers are located with the option to
have the electric utility produce and provide single bills to
the retail customers for both the electric power and energy
service provided by the alternative retail electric supplier or
other electric utility and the delivery services provided by
the electric utility to the customers. The tariffs filed
pursuant to this subsection shall require the electric utility
to collect and remit customer payments for electric power and
energy service provided by alternative retail electric
suppliers or electric utilities other than the electric utility
in whose service area retail customers are located. The tariff
filed pursuant to this subsection shall require the electric
utility to include on each bill to retail customers an
identification of the alternative retail electric supplier or
other electric utility that elects the billing option. The
tariff filed pursuant to this subsection (d) may also include
other just and reasonable terms and conditions and shall
provide for the recovery of prudently incurred costs associated
with the provision of service pursuant to this subsection (d).
The costs associated with the provision of service pursuant to
this Section shall be subject to periodic Commission review.
(e) An electric utility with more than 100,000 customers in
this State shall file a tariff pursuant to Article IX of this
Act that provides alternative retail electric suppliers, and
electric utilities other than the electric utility in whose
service area the retail customers are located, with the option
to have the electric utility purchase 2 billing cycles worth of
uncollectible receivables for power and energy service
provided to residential retail customers and to
non-residential retail customers with a non-coincident peak
demand of less than 400 kilowatts upon returning that customer
to that electric utility for delivery and energy service after
that alternative retail electric supplier, or an electric
utility other than the electric utility in whose service area
the retail customer is located, has made reasonable collection
efforts on that account. Uncollectible receivables for power
and energy service of alternative retail electric suppliers, or
electric utilities other than the electric utility in whose
service area the retail customers are located, shall be
purchased by the electric utility at a just and reasonable
discount rate to be reviewed and approved by the Commission,
after notice and hearing. The discount rate shall be based on
the electric utility's historical bad debt for receivables that
are outstanding for a similar length of time and any reasonable
start-up costs and administrative costs associated with the
electric utility's purchase of receivables. The discounted
rate for purchase of uncollectible receivables shall be
included in the tariff filed pursuant to this subsection (e).
The electric utility retains the right to impose the same terms
on these retail customers with respect to credit and
collection, including requests for deposits, and retains the
right to disconnect these retail customers, if it does not
receive payment for its tariffed services or purchased
receivables, in the same manner that it would be permitted to
if the retail customers had purchased power and energy from the
electric utility. The tariff filed pursuant to this subsection
(e) shall permit the electric utility to recover from retail
customers any uncollectable receivables that may arise as a
result of the purchase of uncollectible receivables under this
subsection (e), may also include other just and reasonable
terms and conditions, and shall provide for the prudently
incurred costs associated with the provision of this service
pursuant to this subsection (e). Nothing in this subsection (e)
permits the double recovery of utility bad debt expenses from
customers. The electric utility may file a joint tariff for
this subsection (e) and subsection (c) of this Section.
(f) Every alternative retail electric supplier or electric
utility other than the electric utility in whose service area
retail customers are located that issues single bills to the
retail customers for the services provided by the alternative
retail electric supplier or other electric utility to the
customers shall include on the single bills issued to
residential customers the current utility electric supply
price to compare that would apply to the customer for the
billing period if the customer obtained supply from the
utility. The current utility electric supply price shall be the
sum of the electric supply charge and the transmission services
charge and shall disclose that the price does not include the
monthly purchased electricity adjustment.
(g) Every electric utility that provides delivery and
supply services shall include on each bill issued to
residential customers who obtain supply from an alternative
retail electric supplier the current utility electric supply
price to compare that would apply to the customer for the
billing period if the customer obtained supply from the
utility. The current utility electric supply price to compare
shall be the sum of the electric supply charge and the
transmission services charge and shall disclose that the price
does not include the monthly purchased electricity adjustment.
(Source: P.A. 95-700, eff. 11-9-07.)
(220 ILCS 5/16-119)
Sec. 16-119. Switching suppliers. An electric utility or an
alternative retail electric supplier may establish a term of
service, notice period for terminating service and provisions
governing early termination through a tariff or contract. A
customer may change its supplier subject to tariff or contract
terms and conditions. Any notice provisions; or provision for a
fee, charge or penalty with early termination of a contract;
shall be conspicuously disclosed in any tariff or contract. Any
tariff filed or contract renewed or entered into on and after
the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 99th General
Assembly that contains an early termination clause shall
disclose the amount of the early termination fee or penalty,
provided that any early termination fee or penalty shall not
exceed $50 total for residential customers and $150 for small
commercial retail customers as defined in Section 16-102 of
this Act, regardless of whether or not the tariff or contract
is a multiyear tariff or contract. Beginning January 1, 2020,
residential and small commercial retail customers shall have a
right to terminate their contracts with alternative retail
electric suppliers at any time without any termination fees or
penalties. A customer shall remain responsible for any unpaid
charges owed to an electric utility or alternative retail
electric supplier at the time it switches to another provider.
The caps on early termination fees and penalties under this
Section shall apply only to early termination fees and
penalties for early termination of electric service. The caps
shall not apply to charges or fees for devices, equipment, or
other services provided by the utility or alternative retail
electric supplier.
(Source: P.A. 99-103, eff. 7-22-15; 99-107, eff. 7-22-15.)
(220 ILCS 5/16-123)
Sec. 16-123. Establishment of customer information centers
for electric utilities and alternative retail electric
suppliers.
(a) All electric utilities and alternative retail electric
suppliers shall be required to maintain a customer call center
where customers can reach a representative and receive current
information. Customers shall periodically be notified on how to
reach the call center. The Commission shall have the authority
to establish reporting requirements for such centers.
(b) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, an electric
utility may:
(1) disclose the current utility electric supply price
to a retail customer who takes electric power and energy
supply service from an alternative retail electric
supplier;
(2) disclose the supply price the customer is paying as
reflected on the customer's bill, if known;
(3) furnish to a retail customer a list of frequently
asked questions to be used by the retail customer in
evaluating electric power and energy supply rate offers by
alternative retail electric suppliers; this list may
include, but is not limited to, the following:
(A) length of the contract;
(B) the price per kilowatt hour, and whether the
contract price is fixed or variable, and if variable,
the circumstances under which the price may change;
(C) whether penalties or early termination fees
apply if the customer terminates the contract before
the expiration of its term; and
(D) whether the customer may be subject to any
other adjustments, penalties, surcharges, or costs
beyond the electric power and energy supply rate; and
(4) provide to a retail customer education information
published by the Office of Retail Market Development and
the Office of the Attorney General regarding the selection
and evaluation of electric power and energy supply rate
offers by alternative retail electric suppliers.
(Source: P.A. 90-561, eff. 12-16-97.)
(220 ILCS 5/19-110)
Sec. 19-110. Certification of alternative gas suppliers.
(a) The provisions of this Section shall apply only to
alternative gas suppliers serving or seeking to serve
residential or small commercial customers and only to the
extent such alternative gas suppliers provide services to
residential or small commercial customers.
(b) An alternative gas supplier must obtain a certificate
of service authority from the Commission in accordance with
this Section before serving any customer or other user located
in this State. An alternative gas supplier may request, and the
Commission may grant, a certificate of service authority for
the entire State or for a specified geographic area of the
State. A person, corporation, or other entity acting as an
alternative gas supplier on the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 92nd General Assembly shall have 180 days
from the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 92nd
General Assembly to comply with the requirements of this
Section in order to continue to operate as an alternative gas
supplier.
(c) An alternative gas supplier seeking a certificate of
service authority shall file with the Commission a verified
application containing information showing that the applicant
meets the requirements of this Section. The alternative gas
supplier shall publish notice of its application in the
official State newspaper within 10 days following the date of
its filing. No later than 45 days after the application is
properly filed with the Commission, and such notice is
published, the Commission shall issue its order granting or
denying the application.
(d) An application for a certificate of service authority
shall identify the area or areas in which the applicant intends
to offer service and the types of services it intends to offer.
Applicants that seek to serve residential or small commercial
customers within a geographic area that is smaller than a gas
utility's service area shall submit evidence demonstrating
that the designation of this smaller area does not violate
Section 19-115. An applicant may state in its application for
certification any limitations that will be imposed on the
number of customers or maximum load to be served. The applicant
shall submit as part of its application a statement indicating:
(1) Whether the applicant has been denied a natural gas
supplier license in any state in the United States.
(2) Whether the applicant has had a natural gas
supplier license suspended or revoked by any state in the
United States.
(3) Where, if any, other natural gas supplier license
applications are pending in the United States.
(4) Whether the applicant is the subject of any
lawsuits filed in a court of law or formal complaints filed
with a regulatory agency alleging fraud, deception or
unfair marketing practices, or other similar allegations,
identifying the name, case number, and jurisdiction of each
such lawsuit or complaint.
For the purposes of this subsection (d), formal complaints
include only those complaints that seek a binding determination
from a state or federal regulatory body.
(e) The Commission shall grant the application for a
certificate of service authority if it makes the findings set
forth in this subsection based on the verified application and
such other information as the applicant may submit.
(1) That the applicant possesses sufficient technical,
financial, and managerial resources and abilities to
provide the service for which it seeks a certificate of
service authority. In determining the level of technical,
financial, and managerial resources and abilities which
the applicant must demonstrate, the Commission shall
consider:
(A) the characteristics, including the size and
financial sophistication of the customers that the
applicant seeks to serve;
(B) whether the applicant seeks to provide gas
using property, plant, and equipment that it owns,
controls, or operates; and
(C) the applicant's commitment of resources to the
management of sales and marketing staff, through
affirmative managerial policies, independent audits,
technology, hands-on field monitoring and training,
and, in the case of applicants who will have sales
personnel or sales agents within the State of Illinois,
the applicant's managerial presence within the State.
(2) That the applicant will comply with all applicable
federal, State, regional, and industry rules, policies,
practices, and procedures for the use, operation, and
maintenance of the safety, integrity, and reliability of
the gas transmission system.
(3) That the applicant will comply with such
informational or reporting requirements as the Commission
may by rule establish.
(4) That the area to be served by the applicant and any
limitations it proposes on the number of customers or
maximum amount of load to be served meet the provisions of
Section 19-115, provided, that if the applicant seeks to
serve an area smaller than the service area of a gas
utility or proposes other limitations on the number of
customers or maximum amount of load to be served, the
Commission can extend the time for considering such a
certificate request by up to 90 days, and can schedule
hearings on such a request.
(5) That the applicant shall continue to comply with
requirements for certification stated in this Section.
(6) That the applicant shall execute and maintain a
license or permit bond issued by a qualifying surety or
insurance company authorized to transact business in the
State of Illinois in favor of the People of the State of
Illinois. The amount of the bond shall equal $150,000 if
the applicant seeks to serve only nonresidential retail
customers or $500,000 if the applicant seeks to serve all
eligible customers. Applicants shall be required to submit
an additional $500,000 bond if the applicant intends to
market to residential customers using in-person
solicitations. The bond shall be conditioned upon the full
and faithful performance of all duties and obligations of
the applicant as an alternative retail gas supplier and
shall be valid for a period of not less than one year. The
cost of the bond shall be paid by the applicant. The
applicant shall file a copy of this bond, with a notarized
verification page from the issuer, as part of its
application for certification under 83 Ill. Adm. Code 551.
(7) (5) That the applicant and the applicant's sales
agents will comply with all other applicable laws and
rules.
(e-5) The Commission may deny with prejudice an application
in which the applicant fails to provide the Commission with
information sufficient for the Commission to grant the
application.
(f) The Commission can extend the time for considering such
a certificate request by up to 90 days, and can schedule
hearings on such a request if:
(1) a party to the application proceeding has formally
requested that the Commission hold hearings in a pleading
that alleges that one or more of the allegations or
certifications in the application is false or misleading;
or
(2) other facts or circumstances exist that will
necessitate additional time or evidence in order to
determine whether a certificate should be issued.
(g) The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate
rules to carry out the provisions of this Section. Within 30
days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the
92nd General Assembly, the Commission shall adopt an emergency
rule or rules applicable to the certification of those gas
suppliers that seek to serve residential customers. Within 180
days of the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 92nd
General Assembly, the Commission shall adopt rules that specify
criteria which, if met by any such alternative gas supplier,
shall constitute the demonstration of technical, financial,
and managerial resources and abilities to provide service
required by item (1) of subsection (e) of this Section, such as
a requirement to post a bond or letter of credit, from a
responsible surety or financial institution, of sufficient
size for the nature and scope of the services to be provided,
demonstration of adequate insurance for the scope and nature of
the services to be provided, and experience in providing
similar services in other jurisdictions.
(h) The Commission may deny with prejudice any application
that repeatedly fails to include the attachments,
documentation, and affidavits required by the application form
or that repeatedly fails to provide any other information
required by this Section.
(i) An alternative gas supplier may seek confidential
treatment for the reporting to the Commission of its total
annual dekatherms delivered and sold by it to residential and
small commercial customers by utility service territory during
the preceding year via the filing of an affidavit with the
Commission so long as the affidavit meets the requirements of
this subsection (i). The affidavit must be filed
contemporaneously with the information for which confidential
treatment is sought and must clearly state that the affiant
seeks confidential treatment pursuant to this subsection (i)
and the information for which confidential treatment is sought
must be clearly identified on the confidential version of the
document filed with the Commission. The affidavit must be
accompanied by both a "confidential" and a "public" version of
the document or documents containing the information for which
confidential treatment is sought.
If the alternative gas supplier has met the affidavit
requirements of this subsection (i), then the Commission shall
afford confidential treatment to the information identified in
the affidavit for a period of 2 years after the date the
affidavit is received by the Commission.
Nothing in this subsection (i) prevents an alternative gas
supplier from filing a petition with the Commission seeking
confidential treatment for information beyond that identified
in this subsection (i) or for information contained in other
reports or documents filed with the Commission.
Nothing in this subsection (i) prevents the Commission, on
its own motion, or any party from filing a formal petition with
the Commission seeking to reconsider the conferring of
confidential status pursuant to this subsection (i).
The Commission, on its own motion, may at any time initiate
a docketed proceeding to investigate the continued
applicability of this affidavit-based process for seeking
confidential treatment. If, at the end of such investigation,
the Commission determines that this affidavit-based process
for seeking confidential treatment for the information is no
longer necessary, the Commission may enter an order to that
effect. Notwithstanding any such order, in the event the
Commission makes such a determination, nothing in this
subsection (i) prevents an alternative gas supplier desiring
confidential treatment for such information from filing a
formal petition with the Commission seeking confidential
treatment for such information.
(Source: P.A. 99-332, eff. 8-10-15.)
(220 ILCS 5/19-115)
Sec. 19-115. Obligations of alternative gas suppliers.
(a) The provisions of this Section shall apply only to
alternative gas suppliers serving or seeking to serve
residential or small commercial customers and only to the
extent such alternative gas suppliers provide services to
residential or small commercial customers.
(b) An alternative gas supplier shall:
(1) shall comply with the requirements imposed on
public utilities by Sections 8-201 through 8-207, 8-301,
8-505 and 8-507 of this Act, to the extent that these
Sections have application to the services being offered by
the alternative gas supplier;
(2) shall continue to comply with the requirements for
certification stated in Section 19-110;
(3) shall comply with complaint procedures established
by the Commission;
(4) except as provided in subsection (h) of this
Section, shall file with the Chief Clerk of the Commission,
within 20 business days after the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly, a copy of bill
formats, standard customer contract and customer complaint
and resolution procedures, and the name and telephone
number of the company representative whom Commission
employees may contact to resolve customer complaints and
other matters. In the case of a gas supplier that engages
in door-to-door solicitation, the company shall file with
the Commission the consumer information disclosure
required by item (3) of subsection (c) of Section 2DDD of
the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and
shall file updated information within 10 business days
after changes in any of the documents or information
required to be filed by this item (4); and
(5) shall maintain a customer call center where
customers can reach a representative and receive current
information. At least once every 6 months, each alternative
gas supplier shall provide written information to
customers explaining how to contact the call center. The
average answer time for calls placed to the call center
shall not exceed 60 seconds where a representative or
automated system is ready to render assistance and/or
accept information to process calls. The abandon rate for
calls placed to the call center shall not exceed 10%. Each
alternative gas supplier shall maintain records of the call
center's telephone answer time performance and abandon
call rate. These records shall be kept for a minimum of 2
years and shall be made available to Commission personnel
upon request. In the event that answer times and/or abandon
rates exceed the limits established above, the reporting
alternative gas supplier may provide the Commission or its
personnel with explanatory details. At a minimum, these
records shall contain the following information in monthly
increments:
(A) total number of calls received;
(B) number of calls answered;
(C) average answer time;
(D) number of abandoned calls; and
(E) abandon call rate.
Alternative gas suppliers that do not have electronic
answering capability that meets these requirements shall
notify the Manager of the Commission's Consumer Services
Division or its successor within 30 days following the
effective date of this amendatory Act of the 95th General
Assembly and work with Staff to develop individualized
reporting requirements as to the call volume and
responsiveness of the call center.
On or before March 1 of every year, each entity shall
file a report with the Chief Clerk of the Commission for
the preceding calendar year on its answer time and abandon
call rate for its call center. A copy of the report shall
be sent to the Manager of the Consumer Services Division or
its successor; .
(6) by January 1, 2020 and every January 1 thereafter,
shall submit to the Commission and the Office of the
Attorney General the rates the alternative gas supplier
charged to residential customers in the prior year,
including each distinct rate charged and whether the rate
was a fixed or variable rate, the basis for the variable
rate, and any fees charged in addition to the supply rate,
including monthly fees, flat fees, or other service
charges; and
(7) shall make publicly available on its website,
without the need for a customer login, rate information for
all of its variable, time-of-use, and fixed rate contracts
currently available to residential customers, including
but not limited to, fixed monthly charges, early
termination fees, and per therm charges.
(c) An alternative gas supplier shall not submit or execute
a change in a customer's selection of a natural gas provider
unless and until (i) the alternative gas supplier first
discloses all material terms and conditions of the offer,
including price, to the customer; (ii) the alternative gas
supplier has obtained the customer's express agreement to
accept the offer after the disclosure of all material terms and
conditions of the offer; and (iii) the alternative gas supplier
has confirmed the request for a change in accordance with one
of the following procedures:
(1) The alternative gas supplier has obtained the
customer's written or electronically signed authorization
in a form that meets the following requirements:
(A) An alternative gas supplier shall obtain any
necessary written or electronically signed
authorization from a customer for a change in natural
gas service by using a letter of agency as specified in
this Section. Any letter of agency that does not
conform with this Section is invalid.
(B) The letter of agency shall be a separate
document (or an easily separable document containing
only the authorization language described in item (E)
of this paragraph (1)) whose sole purpose is to
authorize a natural gas provider change. The letter of
agency must be signed and dated by the customer
requesting the natural gas provider change.
(C) The letter of agency shall not be combined with
inducements of any kind on the same document.
(D) Notwithstanding items (A) and (B) of this
paragraph (1), the letter of agency may be combined
with checks that contain only the required letter of
agency language prescribed in item (E) of this
paragraph (1) and the necessary information to make the
check a negotiable instrument. The letter of agency
check shall not contain any promotional language or
material. The letter of agency check shall contain in
easily readable, bold face type on the face of the
check a notice that the consumer is authorizing a
natural gas provider change by signing the check. The
letter of agency language also shall be placed near the
signature line on the back of the check.
(E) At a minimum, the letter of agency must be
printed with a print of sufficient size to be clearly
legible and must contain clear and unambiguous
language that confirms:
(i) the customer's billing name and address;
(ii) the decision to change the natural gas
provider from the current provider to the
prospective alternative gas supplier;
(iii) the terms, conditions, and nature of the
service to be provided to the customer, including,
but not limited to, the rates for the service
contracted for by the customer; and
(iv) that the customer understands that any
natural gas provider selection the customer
chooses may involve a charge to the customer for
changing the customer's natural gas provider.
(F) Letters of agency shall not suggest or require
that a customer take some action in order to retain the
customer's current natural gas provider.
(G) If any portion of a letter of agency is
translated into another language, then all portions of
the letter of agency must be translated into that
language.
(2) An appropriately qualified independent third party
has obtained, in accordance with the procedures set forth
in this paragraph (2), the customer's oral authorization to
change natural gas providers that confirms and includes
appropriate verification data. The independent third party
must (i) not be owned, managed, controlled, or directed by
the alternative gas supplier or the alternative gas
supplier's marketing agent; (ii) not have any financial
incentive to confirm provider change requests for the
alternative gas supplier or the alternative gas supplier's
marketing agent; and (iii) operate in a location physically
separate from the alternative gas supplier or the
alternative gas supplier's marketing agent. Automated
third-party verification systems and 3-way conference
calls may be used for verification purposes so long as the
other requirements of this paragraph (2) are satisfied. An
alternative gas supplier or alternative gas supplier's
sales representative initiating a 3-way conference call or
a call through an automated verification system must drop
off the call once the 3-way connection has been
established. All third-party verification methods shall
elicit, at a minimum, the following information:
(A) the identity of the customer;
(B) confirmation that the person on the call is
authorized to make the provider change;
(C) confirmation that the person on the call wants
to make the provider change;
(D) the names of the providers affected by the
change;
(E) the service address of the service to be
switched; and
(F) the price of the service to be provided and the
material terms and conditions of the service being
offered, including whether any early termination fees
apply.
Third-party verifiers may not market the alternative
gas supplier's services by providing additional
information. All third-party verifications shall be
conducted in the same language that was used in the
underlying sales transaction and shall be recorded in their
entirety. Submitting alternative gas suppliers shall
maintain and preserve audio records of verification of
customer authorization for a minimum period of 2 years
after obtaining the verification. Automated systems must
provide customers with an option to speak with a live
person at any time during the call.
(3) The alternative gas supplier has obtained the
customer's authorization via an automated verification
system to change natural gas service via telephone. An
automated verification system is an electronic system
that, through pre-recorded prompts, elicits voice
responses, touchtone responses, or both, from the customer
and records both the prompts and the customer's responses.
Such authorization must elicit the information in
paragraph (2)(A) through (F) of this subsection (c).
Alternative gas suppliers electing to confirm sales
electronically through an automated verification system
shall establish one or more toll-free telephone numbers
exclusively for that purpose. Calls to the number or
numbers shall connect a customer to a voice response unit,
or similar mechanism, that makes a date-stamped,
time-stamped recording of the required information
regarding the alternative gas supplier change.
The alternative gas supplier shall not use such
electronic authorization systems to market its services.
(4) When a consumer initiates the call to the
prospective alternative gas supplier, in order to enroll
the consumer as a customer, the prospective alternative gas
supplier must, with the consent of the customer, make a
date-stamped, time-stamped audio recording that elicits,
at a minimum, the following information:
(A) the identity of the customer;
(B) confirmation that the person on the call is
authorized to make the provider change;
(C) confirmation that the person on the call wants
to make the provider change;
(D) the names of the providers affected by the
change;
(E) the service address of the service to be
switched; and
(F) the price of the service to be supplied and the
material terms and conditions of the service being
offered, including whether any early termination fees
apply.
Submitting alternative gas suppliers shall maintain
and preserve the audio records containing the information
set forth above for a minimum period of 2 years.
(5) In the event that a customer enrolls for service
from an alternative gas supplier via an Internet website,
the alternative gas supplier shall obtain an
electronically signed letter of agency in accordance with
paragraph (1) of this subsection (c) and any customer
information shall be protected in accordance with all
applicable statutes and regulations. In addition, an
alternative gas supplier shall provide the following when
marketing via an Internet website:
(A) The Internet enrollment website shall, at a
minimum, include:
(i) a copy of the alternative gas supplier's
customer contract that clearly and conspicuously
discloses all terms and conditions; and
(ii) a conspicuous prompt for the customer to
print or save a copy of the contract.
(B) Any electronic version of the contract shall be
identified by version number, in order to ensure the
ability to verify the particular contract to which the
customer assents.
(C) Throughout the duration of the alternative gas
supplier's contract with a customer, the alternative
gas supplier shall retain and, within 3 business days
of the customer's request, provide to the customer an
e-mail, paper, or facsimile of the terms and conditions
of the numbered contract version to which the customer
assents.
(D) The alternative gas supplier shall provide a
mechanism by which both the submission and receipt of
the electronic letter of agency are recorded by time
and date.
(E) After the customer completes the electronic
letter of agency, the alternative gas supplier shall
disclose conspicuously through its website that the
customer has been enrolled, and the alternative gas
supplier shall provide the customer an enrollment
confirmation number.
(6) When a customer is solicited in person by the
alternative gas supplier's sales agent, the alternative
gas supplier may only obtain the customer's authorization
to change natural gas service through the method provided
for in paragraph (2) of this subsection (c).
Alternative gas suppliers must be in compliance with this
subsection (c) within 90 days after the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly.
(d) Complaints may be filed with the Commission under this
Section by a customer whose natural gas service has been
provided by an alternative gas supplier in a manner not in
compliance with subsection (c) of this Section. If, after
notice and hearing, the Commission finds that an alternative
gas supplier has violated subsection (c), then the Commission
may in its discretion do any one or more of the following:
(1) Require the violating alternative gas supplier to
refund the customer charges collected in excess of those
that would have been charged by the customer's authorized
natural gas provider.
(2) Require the violating alternative gas supplier to
pay to the customer's authorized natural gas provider the
amount the authorized natural gas provider would have
collected for natural gas service. The Commission is
authorized to reduce this payment by any amount already
paid by the violating alternative gas supplier to the
customer's authorized natural gas provider.
(3) Require the violating alternative gas supplier to
pay a fine of up to $1,000 into the Public Utility Fund for
each repeated and intentional violation of this Section.
(4) Issue a cease and desist order.
(5) For a pattern of violation of this Section or for
intentionally violating a cease and desist order, revoke
the violating alternative gas supplier's certificate of
service authority.
(e) No alternative gas supplier shall:
(1) enter into or employ any arrangements which have
the effect of preventing any customer from having access to
the services of the gas utility in whose service area the
customer is located;
(2) charge customers for such access;
(3) bill for goods or services not authorized by the
customer; or
(4) bill for a disputed amount where the alternative
gas supplier has been provided notice of such dispute. The
supplier shall attempt to resolve a dispute with the
customer. When the dispute is not resolved to the
customer's satisfaction, the supplier shall inform the
customer of the right to file an informal complaint with
the Commission and provide contact information. While the
pending dispute is active at the Commission, an alternative
gas supplier may bill only for the undisputed amount until
the Commission has taken final action on the complaint.
(f) An alternative gas supplier that is certified to serve
residential or small commercial customers shall not:
(1) deny service to a customer or group of customers
nor establish any differences as to prices, terms,
conditions, services, products, facilities, or in any
other respect, whereby such denial or differences are based
upon race, gender, or income, except as provided in Section
19-116;
(2) deny service based on locality, nor establish any
unreasonable difference as to prices, terms, conditions,
services, products, or facilities as between localities;
(3) include in any agreement a provision that obligates
a customer to the terms of the agreement if the customer
(i) moves outside the State of Illinois; (ii) moves to a
location without a transportation service program; or
(iii) moves to a location where the customer will not
require natural gas service, provided that nothing in this
subsection precludes an alternative gas supplier from
taking any action otherwise available to it to collect a
debt that arises out of service provided to the customer
before the customer moved; or
(4) assign the agreement to any alternative natural gas
supplier, unless:
(A) the supplier is an alternative gas supplier
certified by the Commission;
(B) the rates, terms, and conditions of the
agreement being assigned do not change during the
remainder of the time covered by the agreement;
(C) the customer is given no less than 30 days
prior written notice of the assignment and contact
information for the new supplier; and
(D) the supplier assigning the contract provides
contact information that a customer can use to resolve
a dispute.
(g) An alternative gas supplier shall comply with the
following requirements with respect to the marketing,
offering, and provision of products or services:
(1) All Any marketing materials, including, but not
limited to, electronic marketing materials, in-person
solicitations, and telephone solicitations, which make
statements concerning prices, terms, and conditions of
service shall contain information that adequately
discloses the prices, terms, and conditions of the products
or services and shall disclose the utility gas supply cost
rates per therm price available from the Illinois Commerce
Commission website applicable at the time the alternative
gas supplier is offering or selling the products or
services to the customer and shall disclose the date on
which the utility gas supply cost rates per therm became
effective and the date on which they will expire. All
marketing materials, including, but not limited to,
electronic marketing materials, in-person solicitations,
and telephone solicitations, shall include the following
statement: .
"(Name of the alternative gas supplier) is not the
same entity as your gas delivery company. You are not
required to enroll with (name of alternative gas
supplier). Beginning on (effective date), the utility
gas supply cost rate per therm is (cost). The utility
gas supply cost will expire on (expiration date). For
more information go to the Illinois Commerce
Commission's free website at
www.icc.illinois.gov/ags/consumereducation.aspx.".
This paragraph (1) does not apply to goodwill or
institutional advertising.
(2) Before any customer is switched from another
supplier, the alternative gas supplier shall give the
customer written information that clearly and
conspicuously discloses, in plain language, the prices,
terms, and conditions of the products and services being
offered and sold to the customer. This written information
shall be provided in a language in which the customer
subject to the marketing or solicitation is able to
understand and communicate, and the alternative gas
supplier shall not switch a customer who is unable to
understand and communicate in a language in which the
marketing or solicitation was conducted. The alternative
gas supplier shall comply with Section 2N of the Consumer
Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Nothing in this
paragraph (2) may be read to relieve an alternative gas
supplier from the duties imposed on it by item (3) of
subsection (c) of Section 2DDD of the Consumer Fraud and
Deceptive Business Practices Act.
(3) The alternative gas supplier shall provide to the
customer:
(A) accurate, timely, and itemized billing
statements that describe the products and services
provided to the customer and their prices and that
specify the gas consumption amount and any service
charges and taxes; provided that this item (g)(3)(A)
does not apply to small commercial customers;
(B) billing statements that clearly and
conspicuously discloses the name and contact
information for the alternative gas supplier;
(C) an additional statement, at least annually,
that adequately discloses the average monthly prices,
and the terms and conditions, of the products and
services sold to the customer; provided that this item
(g)(3)(C) does not apply to small commercial
customers;
(D) refunds of any deposits with interest within 30
days after the date that the customer changes gas
suppliers or discontinues service if the customer has
satisfied all of his or her outstanding financial
obligations to the alternative gas supplier at an
interest rate set by the Commission which shall be the
same as that required of gas utilities; and
(E) refunds, in a timely fashion, of all undisputed
overpayments upon the oral or written request of the
customer.
(4) An alternative gas supplier and its sales agents
shall refrain from any direct marketing or soliciting to
consumers on the gas utility's "Do Not Contact List", which
the alternative gas supplier shall obtain on the 15th
calendar day of the month from the gas utility in whose
service area the consumer is provided with gas service. If
the 15th calendar day is a non-business day, then the
alternative gas supplier shall obtain the list on the next
business day following the 15th calendar day of that month.
(5) Early Termination.
(A) Any agreement that contains an early
termination clause shall disclose the amount of the
early termination fee, provided that any early
termination fee or penalty shall not exceed $50 total,
regardless of whether or not the agreement is a
multiyear agreement.
(B) In any agreement that contains an early
termination clause, an alternative gas supplier shall
provide the customer the opportunity to terminate the
agreement without any termination fee or penalty
within 10 business days after the date of the first
bill issued to the customer for products or services
provided by the alternative gas supplier. The
agreement shall disclose the opportunity and provide a
toll-free phone number that the customer may call in
order to terminate the agreement. Beginning January 1,
2020, residential and small commercial customers shall
have a right to terminate their agreements with
alternative gas suppliers at any time without any
termination fees or penalties.
(6) Within 2 business days after electronic receipt of
a customer switch from the alternative gas supplier and
confirmation of eligibility, the gas utility shall provide
the customer written notice confirming the switch. The gas
utility shall not switch the service until 10 business days
after the date on the notice to the customer.
(7) The alternative gas supplier shall provide each
customer the opportunity to rescind its agreement without
penalty within 10 business days after the date on the gas
utility notice to the customer. The alternative gas
supplier shall disclose all of the following:
(A) that the gas utility shall send a notice
confirming the switch;
(B) that from the date the utility issues the
notice confirming the switch, the customer shall have
10 business days to rescind the switch without penalty;
(C) that the customer shall contact the gas utility
or the alternative gas supplier to rescind the switch;
and
(D) the contact information for the gas utility.
The alternative gas supplier disclosure shall be
included in its sales solicitations, contracts, and all
applicable sales verification scripts.
(8) All in-person and telephone solicitations shall be
conducted in, translated into, and provided in a language
in which the consumer subject to the marketing or
solicitation is able to understand and communicate. An
alternative gas supplier shall terminate a solicitation if
the consumer subject to the marketing or communication is
unable to understand and communicate in the language in
which the marketing or solicitation is being conducted. An
alternative gas supplier shall comply with Section 2N of
the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
(h) An alternative gas supplier may limit the overall size
or availability of a service offering by specifying one or more
of the following:
(1) a maximum number of customers and maximum amount of
gas load to be served;
(2) time period during which the offering will be
available; or
(3) other comparable limitation, but not including the
geographic locations of customers within the area which the
alternative gas supplier is certificated to serve.
The alternative gas supplier shall file the terms and
conditions of such service offering including the applicable
limitations with the Commission prior to making the service
offering available to customers.
(i) Nothing in this Section shall be construed as
preventing an alternative gas supplier that is an affiliate of,
or which contracts with, (i) an industry or trade organization
or association, (ii) a membership organization or association
that exists for a purpose other than the purchase of gas, or
(iii) another organization that meets criteria established in a
rule adopted by the Commission from offering through the
organization or association services at prices, terms and
conditions that are available solely to the members of the
organization or association.
(Source: P.A. 95-1051, eff. 4-10-09.)
(220 ILCS 5/19-116 new)
Sec. 19-116. Alternative gas supplier utility assistance
recipient.
(a) Beginning January 1, 2020, an alternative gas supplier
shall not knowingly submit an enrollment to change a customer's
natural gas supplier if the gas utility's records indicate that
the customer received financial assistance in the previous 12
months from either the Low Income Home Energy Assistance
Program or, at the time of enrollment is participating in the
Percentage of Income Payment Plan, unless the customer's change
in gas supplier is pursuant to a Commission-approved savings
guarantee plan as described in subsection (b).
(b) Beginning January 1, 2020, an alternative gas supplier
may apply to the Commission to offer a savings guarantee plan
to recipients of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
funding or Percentage of Income Payment Plan funding. The
Commission shall initiate a public, docketed proceeding to
consider whether or not to approve an alternative gas
supplier's application to offer a savings guarantee plan. At a
minimum, the savings guarantee plan shall charge customers for
natural gas supply at an amount that is less than the amount
charged by the gas utility.
(c) An agreement entered into between an alternative gas
supplier and a customer in violation of this Section is void
and unenforceable. Before the gas utility executes a change in
a customer's natural gas supplier, other than a change pursuant
to a Commission-approved savings guarantee plan as described in
subsection (b), the gas utility shall confirm at the time of
the request whether its records indicate that the customer has
either received financial assistance from the Low Income Home
Energy Assistance Program within the previous 12 months, or, at
the time of enrollment is participating in the Percentage of
Income Payment Plan; and if so, shall reject such change
request. Absent willful or wanton misconduct, no gas utility
shall be held liable for any error in acting or failing to act
pursuant to this Section.
(220 ILCS 5/19-120)
Sec. 19-120. Commission oversight of services provided by
gas suppliers.
(a) The provisions of this Section shall apply only to
alternative gas suppliers serving or seeking to serve
residential or small commercial customers and only to the
extent such alternative gas suppliers provide services to
residential or small commercial customers.
(b) The Commission shall have jurisdiction in accordance
with the provisions of Article X of this Act either to
investigate on its own motion in order to determine whether or
to entertain and dispose of any complaint against any
alternative gas supplier alleging that:
(1) the alternative gas supplier has violated or is in
nonconformance with any applicable provisions of Section
19-110, 19-111, 19-112, or Section 19-115;
(2) an alternative gas supplier has failed to provide
service in accordance with the terms of its contract or
contracts with a customer or customers;
(3) the alternative gas supplier has violated or is in
nonconformance with the transportation services tariff of,
or any of its agreements relating to transportation
services with, the gas utility or municipal system
providing transportation services; or
(4) the alternative gas supplier has violated or failed
to comply with the requirements of Sections 8-201 through
8-207, 8-301, 8-505, or 8-507 of this Act as made
applicable to alternative gas suppliers.
(c) The Commission shall have authority after notice and
hearing held on complaint or on the Commission's own motion to
order any or all of the following remedies, penalties, or forms
of relief:
(1) order an alternative gas supplier to cease and
desist, or correct, any violation of or nonconformance with
the provisions of Section 19-110, 19-111, 19-112, or
19-115;
(2) impose financial penalties for violations of or
nonconformances with the provisions of Section 19-110,
19-111, 19-112, or 19-115, not to exceed (i) $10,000 per
occurrence or (ii) $30,000 per day for those violations or
nonconformances which continue after the Commission issues
a cease-and-desist order; and
(3) alter, modify, revoke, or suspend the certificate
of service authority of an alternative gas supplier for
substantial or repeated violations of or nonconformances
with the provisions of Section 19-110, 19-111, 19-112, or
19-115.
(d) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit,
restrict, or mitigate in any way the power and authority of the
State's Attorneys or the Attorney General under the Consumer
Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
(e) In addition to other powers and authority granted to it
under this Act, the Commission may require an alternative gas
supplier to enter into a compliance plan. If the Commission
comes into possession of information causing it to conclude
that an alternative gas supplier is violating this Act or the
Commission's rules, the Commission may, after notice and
hearing, enter an order directing the alternative gas supplier
to implement practices, procedures, oversight, or other
measures or refrain from practices, conduct, or activities as
the Commission finds is necessary or reasonable to ensure the
alternative gas supplier's compliance with this Act and the
Commission's rules. Failure by an alternative gas supplier to
implement or comply with a Commission-ordered compliance plan
is a violation of this Section. The Commission, in its
discretion, may order a compliance plan under such
circumstances as it considers warranted and is not required to
order a compliance plan prior to taking other enforcement
action against an alternative retail gas supplier. Nothing in
this subsection (e) shall be interpreted to limit the authority
or right of the Attorney General.
(Source: P.A. 95-1051, eff. 4-10-09.)
(220 ILCS 5/19-130)
Sec. 19-130. Commission study and report. The Commission's
Office of Retail Market Development shall prepare an annual
report regarding the development of competitive retail natural
gas markets in Illinois. The Office shall monitor existing
competitive conditions in Illinois, identify barriers to
retail competition for all customer classes, and actively
explore and propose to the Commission and to the General
Assembly solutions to overcome identified barriers. Solutions
proposed by the Office to promote retail competition must also
promote safe, reliable, and affordable natural gas service.
On or before October 1 of each year, beginning in 2015, the
Director shall submit a report to the Commission, the General
Assembly, and the Governor, that includes, at a minimum, the
following information:
(1) an analysis of the status and development of the
retail natural gas market in the State of Illinois; and
(2) a discussion of any identified barriers to the
development of competitive retail natural gas markets in
Illinois and proposed solutions to overcome identified
barriers; and
(3) any other information the Office considers
significant in assessing the development of natural gas
markets in the State of Illinois.
Beginning in 2021, the report shall also include the
information submitted to the Commission pursuant to paragraph
(6) of subsection (b) of Section 19-115.
(Source: P.A. 97-223, eff. 1-1-12; 98-1121, eff. 8-26-14.)
(220 ILCS 5/19-135)
Sec. 19-135. Single billing.
(a) It is the intent of the General Assembly that in any
service area where customers are able to choose their natural
gas supplier, a single billing option shall be offered to
customers for both the services provided by the alternative gas
supplier and the delivery services provided by the gas utility.
A gas utility shall file a tariff pursuant to Article IX of
this Act that allows alternative gas suppliers to issue single
bills to residential and small commercial customers for both
the services provided by the alternative gas supplier and the
delivery services provided by the gas utility to customers;
provided that if a form of single billing is being offered in a
gas utility's service area on the effective date of this
amendatory Act of the 92nd General Assembly, that form of
single billing shall remain in effect unless and until
otherwise ordered by the Commission.
(b) Every alternative gas supplier that issues a single
bill for delivery and supply shall include on the single bill
issued to a residential customer the current utility gas supply
cost rate per therm that would apply to the customer for the
billing period if the customer obtained supply from the
utility, including all fixed or monthly supply charges and
other charges, credits, or rates that are part of the gas
supply price.
(c) Every gas utility that offers supply choice and
provides delivery and alternative gas supply service on a
single bill to its residential customers shall include on the
bill of each residential customer who purchases supply services
from an alternative gas supplier the current utility gas supply
cost rate per therm that would apply to the customer for the
billing period if the customer obtained supply from the
utility, including all fixed or monthly supply charges and
other charges, credits, or rates that are part of the gas
supply price.
(Source: P.A. 92-852, eff. 8-26-02.)
(220 ILCS 5/20-110)
Sec. 20-110. Office of Retail Market Development. Within 90
days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the
94th General Assembly, subject to appropriation, the
Commission shall establish an Office of Retail Market
Development and employ on its staff a Director of Retail Market
Development to oversee the Office. The Director shall have
authority to employ or otherwise retain at least 2
professionals dedicated to the task of actively seeking out
ways to promote retail competition in Illinois to benefit all
Illinois consumers.
The Office shall actively seek input from all interested
parties and shall develop a thorough understanding and critical
analyses of the tools and techniques used to promote retail
competition in other states.
The Office shall monitor existing competitive conditions
in Illinois, identify barriers to retail competition for all
customer classes, and actively explore and propose to the
Commission and to the General Assembly solutions to overcome
identified barriers. The Director may include municipal
aggregation of customers and creating and designing customer
choice programs as tools for retail market development.
Solutions proposed by the Office to promote retail competition
must also promote safe, reliable, and affordable electric
service.
On or before July 31 June 30 of each year, the Director
shall submit a report to the Commission, the General Assembly,
and the Governor, that details specific accomplishments
achieved by the Office in the prior 12 months in promoting
retail electric competition and that suggests administrative
and legislative action necessary to promote further
improvements in retail electric competition. On or before July
31, 2021 and each year thereafter, the report shall include the
information submitted to the Commission pursuant to paragraph
(iii) of subsection (a) of Section 16-115A.
(Source: P.A. 94-1095, eff. 2-2-07.)
Section 10. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
Practices Act is amended by changing Sections 2EE and 2DDD as
follows:
(815 ILCS 505/2EE)
Sec. 2EE. Alternative retail electric supplier Electric
service provider selection.
(a) An alternative retail electric supplier electric
service provider shall not submit or execute a change in a
consumer's subscriber's selection of a provider of electric
service unless and until:
(i) the alternative retail electric supplier provider
first discloses all material terms and conditions of the
offer to the consumer subscriber;
(ii) if the consumer is a small commercial retail
customer as that term is defined in subsection (c) of this
Section or a residential consumer, the alternative retail
electric supplier discloses the utility electric supply
price to compare, which shall be the sum of the electric
supply charge and the transmission services charge, and
shall not include the purchased electricity adjustment,
applicable at the time the offer is made to the consumer;
(iii) if the consumer is a small commercial retail
customer as that term is defined in subsection (c) of this
Section or a residential consumer, the alternative retail
electric provider discloses the following statement:
"(Name of the alternative retail electric
supplier) is not the same entity as your electric
delivery company. You are not required to enroll with
(name of alternative retail electric supplier). As of
(effective date), the electric supply price to compare
is currently (price in cents per kilowatt hour). The
electric utility electric supply price will expire on
(expiration date). The utility electric supply price
to compare does not include the purchased electricity
adjustment factor. For more information go to the
Illinois Commerce Commission's free website at
www.pluginillinois.org.".
If applicable, the statement shall include the
following statement:
"The purchased electricity adjustment factor may
range between +.5 cents and -.5 cents per kilowatt
hour.";
(iv) the alternative retail electric supplier has
obtained the consumer's express agreement to accept the
offer after the disclosure of all material terms and
conditions of the offer; and
(v) the alternative retail electric supplier has
confirmed the request for a change in accordance with one
of the following procedures: (ii) the provider has obtained
the subscriber's express agreement to accept the offer
after the disclosure of all material terms and conditions
of the offer; and (iii) the provider has confirmed the
request for a change in accordance with one of the
following procedures:
(A) (a) The new alternative retail electric
supplier electric service provider has obtained the
consumer's subscriber's written or electronically
signed authorization in a form that meets the following
requirements:
(1) An alternative retail electric supplier
electric service provider shall obtain any
necessary written or electronically signed
authorization from a consumer subscriber for a
change in electric service by using a letter of
agency as specified in this Section. Any letter of
agency that does not conform with this Section is
invalid.
(2) The letter of agency shall be a separate
document (an easily separable document containing
only the authorization language described in
subparagraph (5) (a)(5) of this Section) whose
sole purpose is to authorize an electric service
provider change. The letter of agency must be
signed and dated by the consumer subscriber
requesting the electric service provider change.
(3) The letter of agency shall not be combined
with inducements of any kind on the same document.
(4) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (1) (a)(1)
and (2) (a)(2) of this Section, the letter of
agency may be combined with checks that contain
only the required letter of agency language
prescribed in subparagraph (5) (a)(5) of this
Section and the necessary information to make the
check a negotiable instrument. The letter of
agency check shall not contain any promotional
language or material. The letter of agency check
shall contain in easily readable, bold-face type
on the face of the check, a notice that the
consumer is authorizing an electric service
provider change by signing the check. The letter of
agency language also shall be placed near the
signature line on the back of the check.
(5) At a minimum, the letter of agency must be
printed with a print of sufficient size to be
clearly legible, and must contain clear and
unambiguous language that confirms:
(i) The consumer's subscriber's billing
name and address;
(ii) The decision to change the electric
service provider from the current provider to
the prospective provider;
(iii) The terms, conditions, and nature of
the service to be provided to the consumer
subscriber must be clearly and conspicuously
disclosed, in writing, and an alternative
retail electric supplier electric service
provider must directly establish the rates for
the service contracted for by the consumer
subscriber; and
(iv) That the consumer subscriber
understand that any alternative retail
electric supplier electric service provider
selection the consumer subscriber chooses may
involve a charge to the consumer subscriber for
changing the consumer's subscriber's electric
service provider.
(6) Letters of agency shall not suggest or
require that a consumer subscriber take some
action in order to retain the consumer's
subscriber's current electric service provider.
(7) If any portion of a letter of agency is
translated into another language, then all
portions of the letter of agency must be translated
into that language.
(B) (b) An appropriately qualified independent
third party has obtained, in accordance with the
procedures set forth in this subsection (b), the
consumer's subscriber's oral authorization to change
electric suppliers that confirms and includes
appropriate verification data. The independent third
party (i) must not be owned, managed, controlled, or
directed by the supplier or the supplier's marketing
agent; (ii) must not have any financial incentive to
confirm supplier change requests for the supplier or
the supplier's marketing agent; and (iii) must operate
in a location physically separate from the supplier or
the supplier's marketing agent.
Automated third-party verification systems and
3-way conference calls may be used for verification
purposes so long as the other requirements of this
subsection (b) are satisfied.
A supplier or supplier's sales representative
initiating a 3-way conference call or a call through an
automated verification system must drop off the call
once the 3-way connection has been established.
All third-party verification methods shall elicit,
at a minimum, the following information: (i) the
identity of the consumer subscriber; (ii) confirmation
that the person on the call is the account holder, has
been specifically and explicitly authorized by the
account holder, or possesses lawful authority
authorized to make the supplier change; (iii)
confirmation that the person on the call wants to make
the supplier change; (iv) the names of the suppliers
affected by the change; (v) the service address of the
supply to be switched; and (vi) the price of the
service to be supplied and the material terms and
conditions of the service being offered, including
whether any early termination fees apply. Third-party
verifiers may not market the supplier's services by
providing additional information, including
information regarding procedures to block or otherwise
freeze an account against further changes.
All third-party verifications shall be conducted
in the same language that was used in the underlying
sales transaction and shall be recorded in their
entirety. Submitting suppliers shall maintain and
preserve audio records of verification of subscriber
authorization for a minimum period of 2 years after
obtaining the verification. Automated systems must
provide consumers with an option to speak with a live
person at any time during the call. Each disclosure
made during the third-party verification must be made
individually to obtain clear acknowledgment of each
disclosure. The alternative retail electric supplier
must be in a location where he or she cannot hear the
customer while the third-party verification is
conducted. The alternative retail electric supplier
shall not contact the customer after the third-party
verification for a period of 24 hours unless the
customer initiates the contact.
(C) (c) When a consumer subscriber initiates the
call to the prospective alternative retail electric
supplier electric supplier, in order to enroll the
consumer subscriber as a customer, the prospective
alternative retail electric supplier must, with the
consent of the customer, make a date-stamped,
time-stamped audio recording that elicits, at a
minimum, the following information:
(1) the identity of the customer subscriber;
(2) confirmation that the person on the call is
authorized to make the supplier change;
(3) confirmation that the person on the call
wants to make the supplier change;
(4) the names of the suppliers affected by the
change;
(5) the service address of the supply to be
switched; and
(6) the price of the service to be supplied and
the material terms and conditions of the service
being offered, including whether any early
termination fees apply.
Submitting suppliers shall maintain and preserve
the audio records containing the information set forth
above for a minimum period of 2 years.
(b)(1) An alternative retail electric supplier shall not
utilize the name of a public utility in any manner that is
deceptive or misleading, including, but not limited to implying
or otherwise leading a consumer to believe that an alternative
retail electric supplier is soliciting on behalf of or is an
agent of a utility. An alternative retail electric supplier
shall not utilize the name, or any other identifying insignia,
graphics, or wording that has been used at any time to
represent a public utility company or its services, to
identify, label, or define any of its electric power and energy
service offers. An alternative retail electric supplier may
state the name of a public electric utility in order to
accurately describe the electric utility service territories
in which the supplier is currently offering an electric power
and energy service. An alternative retail electric supplier
that is the affiliate of an Illinois public utility and that
was doing business in Illinois providing alternative retail
electric service on January 1, 2016 may continue to use that
public utility's name, logo, identifying insignia, graphics,
or wording in its business operations occurring outside the
service territory of the public utility with which it is
affiliated.
(2) An alternative retail electric supplier shall not state
or otherwise imply that the alternative retail electric
supplier is employed by, representing, endorsed by, or acting
on behalf of a utility or utility program, a consumer group or
consumer group program, or a governmental body, unless the
alternative retail electric supplier has entered into a
contractual arrangement with the governmental body and has been
authorized by the governmental body to make the statements.
(c) An alternative retail electric supplier shall not
submit or execute a change in a consumer's selection of a
provider of electric service unless the alternative retail
electric supplier complies with the following requirements of
this subsection (c). It is a violation of this Section for an
alternative retail electric supplier to fail to comply with
this subsection (c). The requirements of this subsection (c)
shall only apply to residential and small commercial retail
customers. For purposes of this subsection (c) only, "small
commercial retail customer" has the meaning given to that term
in Section 16-102 of the Public Utilities Act.
(1) During a solicitation an alternative retail
electric supplier shall state that he or represents an
independent seller of electric power and energy service
certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission and that he
or she is not employed by, representing, endorsed by, or
acting on behalf of, a utility, or a utility program, a
consumer group or consumer group program, or a governmental
body, unless the alternative retail electric supplier has
entered into a contractual arrangement with the
governmental body and has been authorized with the
governmental body to make the statements.
(2) Alternative retail electric suppliers who engage
in in-person solicitation for the purpose of selling
electric power and energy service offered by the
alternative retail electric supplier shall display
identification on an outer garment. This identification
shall be visible at all times and prominently display the
following: (i) the alternative retail electric supplier
agent's full name in reasonable size font; (ii) an agent
identification number; (iii) a photograph of the
alternative retail electric supplier agent; and (iv) the
trade name and logo of the alternative retail electric
supplier the agent is representing. If the agent is selling
electric power and energy services from multiple
alternative retail electric suppliers to the consumer, the
identification shall display the trade name and logo of the
agent, broker, or consultant entity as that entity is
defined in Section 16-115C of the Public Utilities Act. An
alternative retail electric supplier shall leave the
premises at the consumer's, owner's, or occupant's
request. A copy of the Uniform Disclosure Statement
described in 83 Ill. Adm. Code 412.115 and 412.Appendix A
is to be left with the consumer, at the conclusion of the
visit unless the consumer refuses to accept a copy. An
alternative retail electric supplier may provide the
Uniform Disclosure Statement electronically instead of in
paper form to a consumer upon that customer's request. The
alternative retail electric supplier shall also offer to
the consumer, at the time of the initiation of the
solicitation, a business card or other material that lists
the agent's name, identification number and title, and the
alternative retail electric supplier's name and contact
information, including phone number. The alternative
retail electric supplier shall not conduct any in-person
solicitations of consumers at any building or premises
where any sign, notice, or declaration of any description
whatsoever is posted that prohibits sales, marketing, or
solicitations. The alternative retail electric supplier
shall obtain consent to enter multi-unit residential
dwellings. Consent obtained to enter a multi-unit dwelling
from one prospective customer or occupant of the dwelling
shall not constitute consent to market to any other
prospective consumers without separate consent.
(3) An alternative retail electric supplier who
contacts consumers by telephone for the purpose of selling
electric power and energy service shall provide the agent's
name and identification number. Any telemarketing
solicitations that lead to a telephone enrollment of a
consumer must be recorded and retained for a minimum of 2
years. All telemarketing calls of consumers that do not
lead to a telephone enrollment, but last at least 2
minutes, shall be recorded and retained for a minimum of 6
months.
(4) During an inbound enrollment call, an alternative
retail electric supplier shall state that he or she
represents an independent seller of electric power and
energy service certified by the Illinois Commerce
Commission. All inbound enrollment calls that lead to an
enrollment shall be recorded, and the recordings shall be
retained for a minimum of 2 years. An inbound enrollment
call that does not lead to an enrollment, but lasts at
least 2 minutes, shall be retained for a minimum of 6
months. The alternative retail electric supplier shall
send the Uniform Disclosure Statement and contract to the
customer within 3 business days after the electric
utility's confirmation to the alternative retail electric
supplier of an accepted enrollment.
(5) If a direct mail solicitation to a consumer
includes a written letter of agency, it shall include the
Uniform Disclosure Statement described in 83 Ill. Adm. Code
412.115 and 412.Appendix A. The Uniform Disclosure
Statement shall be provided on a separate page from the
other marketing materials included in the direct mail
solicitation. If a written letter of agency is being used
to authorize a consumer's enrollment, the written letter of
agency shall comply with this Section. A copy of the
contract must be sent to consumer within 3 business days
after the electric utility's confirmation to the
alternative retail electric supplier of an accepted
enrollment.
(6) Online Solicitation.
(A) Each alternative retail electric supplier
offering electric power and energy service to
consumers online shall clearly and conspicuously make
all disclosures for any services offered through
online enrollment before requiring the consumer to
enter any personal information other than zip code,
electric utility service territory, or type of service
sought.
(B) Notwithstanding any requirements in this
Section to the contrary, an alternative retail
electric supplier may secure consent from the consumer
to obtain customer-specific billing and usage
information for the sole purpose of determining and
pricing a product through a letter of agency or method
approved through an Illinois Commerce Commission
docket before making all disclosure for services
offered through online enrollment. It is a violation of
this Act for an alternative retail electric supplier to
use a consumer's utility account number to execute or
change a consumer's enrollment unless the consumer
expressly consents to that enrollment as required by
law.
(C) The enrollment website of the alternative
retail electric supplier shall, at a minimum, include:
(i) disclosure of all material terms and conditions of
the offer; (ii) a statement that electronic acceptance
of the terms and conditions is an agreement to initiate
service and begin enrollment; (iii) a statement that
the consumer shall review the contract or contact the
current supplier to learn if any early termination fees
are applicable; and (iv) an email address and toll-free
phone number of the alternative retail electric
supplier where the customer can express a decision to
rescind the contract.
(7)(A) Beginning January 1, 2020, an alternative
retail electric supplier shall not sell or offer to sell
any products or services to a consumer pursuant to a
contract in which the contract automatically renews,
unless an alternative retail electric supplier provides to
the consumer at the outset of the offer, in addition to
other disclosures required by law, a separate written
statement titled "Automatic Contract Renewal" that clearly
and conspicuously discloses in bold lettering in at least
12-point font the terms and conditions of the automatic
contract renewal provision, including: (i) the estimated
bill cycle on which the initial contract term expires and a
statement that it could be later based on when the utility
accepts the initial enrollment; (ii) the estimated bill
cycle on which the new contract term begins and a statement
that it will immediately follow the last billing cycle of
the current term; (iii) the procedure to terminate the
contract before the new contract term applies; and (iv) the
cancellation procedure. If the alternative retail electric
supplier sells or offers to sell the products or services
to a consumer during an in-person solicitation or
telemarketing solicitation, the disclosures described in
this subparagraph (A) shall also be made to the consumer
verbally during the solicitation. Nothing in this
subparagraph (A) shall be construed to apply to contracts
entered into before January 1, 2020.
(B) At least 30 days before, but not more than 60
days prior, to the end of the initial contract term, in
any and all contracts that automatically renew after
the initial term, the alternative retail electric
supplier shall send, in addition to other disclosures
required by law, a separate written notice of the
contract renewal to the consumer that clearly and
conspicuously discloses the following:
(i) a statement printed or visible from the
outside of the envelope or in the subject line of
the email, if the customer has agreed to receive
official documents by email, that states "Contract
Renewal Notice";
(ii) a statement in bold lettering, in at least
12-point font, that the contract will
automatically renew unless the customer cancels
it;
(iii) the billing cycle in which service under
the current term will expire;
(iv) the billing cycle in which service under
the new term will begin;
(v) the process and options available to the
consumer to reject the new contract terms;
(vi) the cancellation process if the
consumer's contract automatically renews before
the consumer rejects the new contract terms;
(vii) the terms and conditions of the new
contract term;
(viii) for a fixed rate contract, a
side-by-side comparison of the current price and
the new price; for a variable rate contract or
time-of-use product in which the first month's
renewal price can be determined, a side-by-side
comparison of the current price and the price for
the first month of the new variable or time-of-use
price; or for a variable or time-of-use contract
based on a publicly available index, a
side-by-side comparison of the current formula and
the new formula; and
(ix) the phone number and email address to
submit a consumer inquiry or complaint to the
Illinois Commerce Commission and the Office of the
Attorney General.
(C) An alternative retail electric supplier shall
not automatically renew a consumer's enrollment after
the current term of the contract expires when the
current term of the contract provides that the consumer
will be charged a fixed rate and the renewed contract
provides that the consumer will be charged a variable
rate, unless: (i) the alternative retail electric
supplier complies with subparagraphs (A) and (B); and
(ii) the customer expressly consents to the contract
renewal in writing or by electronic signature at least
30 days, but no more than 60 days, before the contract
expires.
(D) This paragraph (7) does not apply to customers
enrolled in a municipal aggregation program pursuant
to Section 1-92 of the Illinois Power Agency Act.
(8) All in-person and telephone solicitations shall be
conducted in, translated into, and provided in a language
in which the consumer subject to the marketing or
solicitation is able to understand and communicate. An
alternative retail electric supplier shall terminate a
solicitation if the consumer subject to the marketing or
communication is unable to understand and communicate in
the language in which the marketing or solicitation is
being conducted. An alternative retail electric supplier
shall comply with Section 2N of this Act.
(9) Beginning January 1, 2020, consumers shall have the
right to terminate their contract with the alternative
retail electric supplier at any time without any
termination fees or penalties.
(10) An alternative retail electric supplier shall not
submit a change to a customer's electric service provider
in violation of Section 16-115E of the Public Utilities
Act.
(c) (d) Complaints may be filed with the Illinois Commerce
Commission under this Section by a consumer subscriber whose
electric service has been provided by an alternative retail
electric supplier electric service supplier in a manner not in
compliance with this Section or by the Illinois Commerce
Commission on its own motion when it appears to the Commission
that an alternative retail electric supplier has provided
service in a manner not in compliance with this Section. If,
after notice and hearing, the Commission finds that an
alternative retail electric supplier electric service provider
has violated this Section, the Commission may in its discretion
do any one or more of the following:
(1) Require the violating alternative retail electric
supplier electric service provider to refund to the
consumer subscriber charges collected in excess of those
that would have been charged by the consumer's subscriber's
authorized electric service provider.
(2) Require the violating alternative retail electric
supplier electric service provider to pay to the consumer's
subscriber's authorized electric service provider supplier
the amount the authorized electric service provider
electric supplier would have collected for the electric
service. The Commission is authorized to reduce this
payment by any amount already paid by the violating
alternative retail electric supplier electric supplier to
the consumer's subscriber's authorized provider for
electric service.
(3) Require the violating alternative retail electric
supplier subscriber to pay a fine of up to $1,000 into the
Public Utility Fund for each repeated and intentional
violation of this Section.
(4) Issue a cease and desist order.
(5) For a pattern of violation of this Section or for
intentionally violating a cease and desist order, revoke
the violating alternative retail electric supplier's
provider's certificate of service authority.
(d) (e) For purposes of this Section:
"Electric , "electric service provider" shall have the
meaning given that phrase in Section 6.5 of the Attorney
General Act.
"Alternative retail electric supplier" has the meaning
given to that term in Section 16-102 of the Public Utilities
Act.
(Source: P.A. 95-700, eff. 11-9-07.)
(815 ILCS 505/2DDD)
Sec. 2DDD. Alternative gas suppliers.
(a) Definitions.
(1) "Alternative gas supplier" has the same meaning as
in Section 19-105 of the Public Utilities Act.
(2) "Gas utility" has the same meaning as in Section
19-105 of the Public Utilities Act.
(b) It is an unfair or deceptive act or practice within the
meaning of Section 2 of this Act for any person to violate any
provision of this Section.
(c) Solicitation.
(1) An alternative gas supplier shall not utilize the
name of a public utility in any manner that is deceptive or
misleading, including, but not limited to, implying or
otherwise leading a customer to believe that an alternative
gas supplier is soliciting on behalf of or is an agent of a
utility. An alternative gas supplier shall not utilize the
name, or any other identifying insignia, graphics, or
wording, that has been used at any time to represent a
public utility company or its services or to identify,
label, or define any of its natural gas supply offers and
shall not misrepresent the affiliation of any alternative
supplier with the gas utility, governmental bodies, or
consumer groups.
(2) If any sales solicitation, agreement, contract, or
verification is translated into another language and
provided to a customer, all of the documents must be
provided to the customer in that other language.
(2.3) An alternative gas supplier shall state that it
represents an independent seller of gas certified by the
Illinois Commerce Commission and that he or she is not
employed by, representing, endorsed by, or acting on behalf
of a utility, or a utility program.
(2.5) All in-person and telephone solicitations shall
be conducted in, translated into, and provided in a
language in which the consumer subject to the marketing or
solicitation is able to understand and communicate. An
alternative gas supplier shall terminate a solicitation if
the consumer subject to the marketing or communication is
unable to understand and communicate in the language in
which the marketing or solicitation is being conducted. An
alternative gas supplier shall comply with Section 2N of
this Act.
(3) An alternative gas supplier shall clearly and
conspicuously disclose the following information to all
customers:
(A) the prices, terms, and conditions of the
products and services being sold to the customer;
(B) where the solicitation occurs in person,
including through door-to-door solicitation, the
salesperson's name;
(C) the alternative gas supplier's contact
information, including the address, phone number, and
website;
(D) contact information for the Illinois Commerce
Commission, including the toll-free number for
consumer complaints and website;
(E) a statement of the customer's right to rescind
the offer within 10 business days of the date on the
utility's notice confirming the customer's decision to
switch suppliers, as well as phone numbers for the
supplier and utility that the consumer may use to
rescind the contract; and
(F) the amount of the early termination fee, if
any; and .
(G) the utility gas supply cost rates per therm
price available from the Illinois Commerce Commission
website applicable at the time the alternative gas
supplier is offering or selling the products or
services to the customer and shall disclose the
following statement:
"(Name of the alternative gas supplier) is not the
same entity as your gas delivery company. You are not
required to enroll with (name of alternative retail gas
supplier). Beginning on (effective date), the utility
gas supply cost rate per therm is (cost). The utility
gas supply cost will expire on (expiration date). For
more information go to the Illinois Commerce
Commission's free website at
www.icc.illinois.gov/ags/consumereducation.aspx.".
(4) Except as provided in paragraph (5) of this
subsection (c), an alternative gas supplier shall send the
information described in paragraph (3) of this subsection
(c) to all customers within one business day of the
authorization of a switch.
(5) An alternative gas supplier engaging in
door-to-door solicitation of consumers shall provide the
information described in paragraph (3) of this subsection
(c) during all door-to-door solicitations that result in a
customer deciding to switch their supplier.
(d) Customer Authorization. An alternative gas supplier
shall not submit or execute a change in a customer's selection
of a natural gas provider unless and until (i) the alternative
gas supplier first discloses all material terms and conditions
of the offer to the customer; (ii) the alternative gas supplier
has obtained the customer's express agreement to accept the
offer after the disclosure of all material terms and conditions
of the offer; and (iii) the alternative gas supplier has
confirmed the request for a change in accordance with one of
the following procedures:
(1) The alternative gas supplier has obtained the
customer's written or electronically signed authorization
in a form that meets the following requirements:
(A) An alternative gas supplier shall obtain any
necessary written or electronically signed
authorization from a customer for a change in natural
gas service by using a letter of agency as specified in
this Section. Any letter of agency that does not
conform with this Section is invalid.
(B) The letter of agency shall be a separate
document (or an easily separable document containing
only the authorization language described in item (E)
of this paragraph (1)) whose sole purpose is to
authorize a natural gas provider change. The letter of
agency must be signed and dated by the customer
requesting the natural gas provider change.
(C) The letter of agency shall not be combined with
inducements of any kind on the same document.
(D) Notwithstanding items (A) and (B) of this
paragraph (1), the letter of agency may be combined
with checks that contain only the required letter of
agency language prescribed in item (E) of this
paragraph (1) and the necessary information to make the
check a negotiable instrument. The letter of agency
check shall not contain any promotional language or
material. The letter of agency check shall contain in
easily readable, bold face type on the face of the
check, a notice that the consumer is authorizing a
natural gas provider change by signing the check. The
letter of agency language also shall be placed near the
signature line on the back of the check.
(E) At a minimum, the letter of agency must be
printed with a print of sufficient size to be clearly
legible, and must contain clear and unambiguous
language that confirms:
(i) the customer's billing name and address;
(ii) the decision to change the natural gas
provider from the current provider to the
prospective alternative gas supplier;
(iii) the terms, conditions, and nature of the
service to be provided to the customer, including,
but not limited to, the rates for the service
contracted for by the customer; and
(iv) that the customer understands that any
natural gas provider selection the customer
chooses may involve a charge to the customer for
changing the customer's natural gas provider.
(F) Letters of agency shall not suggest or require
that a customer take some action in order to retain the
customer's current natural gas provider.
(G) If any portion of a letter of agency is
translated into another language, then all portions of
the letter of agency must be translated into that
language.
(2) An appropriately qualified independent third party
has obtained, in accordance with the procedures set forth
in this paragraph (2), the customer's oral authorization to
change natural gas providers that confirms and includes
appropriate verification data. The independent third party
must (i) not be owned, managed, controlled, or directed by
the alternative gas supplier or the alternative gas
supplier's marketing agent; (ii) not have any financial
incentive to confirm provider change requests for the
alternative gas supplier or the alternative gas supplier's
marketing agent; and (iii) operate in a location physically
separate from the alternative gas supplier or the
alternative gas supplier's marketing agent. Automated
third-party verification systems and 3-way conference
calls may be used for verification purposes so long as the
other requirements of this paragraph (2) are satisfied. A
alternative gas supplier or alternative gas supplier's
sales representative initiating a 3-way conference call or
a call through an automated verification system must drop
off the call once the 3-way connection has been
established. All third-party verification methods shall
elicit, at a minimum, the following information:
(A) the identity of the customer;
(B) confirmation that the person on the call is
authorized to make the provider change;
(C) confirmation that the person on the call wants
to make the provider change;
(D) the names of the providers affected by the
change;
(E) the service address of the service to be
switched; and
(F) the price of the service to be provided and the
material terms and conditions of the service being
offered, including whether any early termination fees
apply.
Third-party verifiers may not market the alternative
gas supplier's services. All third-party verifications
shall be conducted in the same language that was used in
the underlying sales transaction and shall be recorded in
their entirety. Submitting alternative gas suppliers shall
maintain and preserve audio records of verification of
customer authorization for a minimum period of 2 years
after obtaining the verification. Automated systems must
provide customers with an option to speak with a live
person at any time during the call. Each disclosure made
during the third-party verification must be made
individually to obtain clear acknowledgment of each
disclosure. The alternative gas supplier must be in a
location where he or she cannot hear the customer while the
third-party verification is conducted. The alternative gas
supplier shall not contact the customer after the
third-party verification for a period of 24 hours unless
the customer initiates the contact.
(3) The alternative gas supplier has obtained the
customer's electronic authorization to change natural gas
service via telephone. Such authorization must elicit the
information in paragraph (2)(A) through (F) of this
subsection (d). Alternative gas suppliers electing to
confirm sales electronically shall establish one or more
toll-free telephone numbers exclusively for that purpose.
Calls to the number or numbers shall connect a customer to
a voice response unit, or similar mechanism, that makes a
date-stamped, time-stamped recording of the required
information regarding the alternative gas supplier change.
The alternative gas supplier shall not use such
electronic authorization systems to market its services.
(4) When a consumer initiates the call to the
prospective alternative gas supplier, in order to enroll
the consumer as a customer, the prospective alternative gas
supplier must, with the consent of the customer, make a
date-stamped, time-stamped audio recording that elicits,
at a minimum, the following information:
(A) the identity of the customer;
(B) confirmation that the person on the call is
authorized to make the provider change;
(C) confirmation that the person on the call wants
to make the provider change;
(D) the names of the providers affected by the
change;
(E) the service address of the service to be
switched; and
(F) the price of the service to be supplied and the
material terms and conditions of the service being
offered, including whether any early termination fees
apply.
Submitting alternative gas suppliers shall maintain
and preserve the audio records containing the information
set forth above for a minimum period of 2 years.
(5) In the event that a customer enrolls for service
from an alternative gas supplier via an Internet website,
the alternative gas supplier shall obtain an
electronically signed letter of agency in accordance with
paragraph (1) of this subsection (d) and any customer
information shall be protected in accordance with all
applicable statutes and rules. In addition, an alternative
gas supplier shall provide the following when marketing via
an Internet website:
(A) The Internet enrollment website shall, at a
minimum, include:
(i) a copy of the alternative gas supplier's
customer contract, which clearly and conspicuously
discloses all terms and conditions; and
(ii) a conspicuous prompt for the customer to
print or save a copy of the contract.
(B) Any electronic version of the contract shall be
identified by version number, in order to ensure the
ability to verify the particular contract to which the
customer assents.
(C) Throughout the duration of the alternative gas
supplier's contract with a customer, the alternative
gas supplier shall retain and, within 3 business days
of the customer's request, provide to the customer an
e-mail, paper, or facsimile of the terms and conditions
of the numbered contract version to which the customer
assents.
(D) The alternative gas supplier shall provide a
mechanism by which both the submission and receipt of
the electronic letter of agency are recorded by time
and date.
(E) After the customer completes the electronic
letter of agency, the alternative gas supplier shall
disclose conspicuously through its website that the
customer has been enrolled and the alternative gas
supplier shall provide the customer an enrollment
confirmation number.
(6) When a customer is solicited in person by the
alternative gas supplier's sales agent, the alternative
gas supplier may only obtain the customer's authorization
to change natural gas service through the method provided
for in paragraph (2) of this subsection (d).
Alternative gas suppliers must be in compliance with the
provisions of this subsection (d) within 90 days after the
effective date of this amendatory Act of the 95th General
Assembly.
(e) Early Termination.
(1) Beginning January 1, 2020, consumers shall have the
right to terminate their contract with an alternative gas
supplier at any time without any termination fees or
penalties. Any agreement that contains an early
termination clause shall disclose the amount of the early
termination fee, provided that any early termination fee or
penalty shall not exceed $50 total, regardless of whether
or not the agreement is a multiyear agreement.
(2) In any agreement that contains an early termination
clause, an alternative gas supplier shall provide the
customer the opportunity to terminate the agreement
without any termination fee or penalty within 10 business
days after the date of the first bill issued to the
customer for products or services provided by the
alternative gas supplier. The agreement shall disclose the
opportunity and provide a toll-free phone number that the
customer may call in order to terminate the agreement.
(f) The alternative gas supplier shall provide each
customer the opportunity to rescind its agreement without
penalty within 10 business days after the date on the gas
utility notice to the customer. The alternative gas supplier
shall disclose to the customer all of the following:
(1) that the gas utility shall send a notice confirming
the switch;
(2) that from the date the utility issues the notice
confirming the switch, the customer shall have 10 business
days before the switch will become effective;
(3) that the customer may contact the gas utility or
the alternative gas supplier to rescind the switch within
10 business days; and
(4) the contact information for the gas utility and the
alternative gas supplier.
The alternative gas supplier disclosure shall be included
in its sales solicitations, contracts, and all applicable sales
verification scripts.
(f-5)(1) Beginning January 1, 2020, an alternative gas
supplier shall not sell or offer to sell any products or
services to a consumer pursuant to a contract in which the
contract automatically renews, unless an alternative gas
supplier provides to the consumer at the outset of the
offer, in addition to other disclosures required by law, a
separate written statement titled "Automatic Contract
Renewal" that clearly and conspicuously discloses in bold
lettering in at least 12-point font the terms and
conditions of the automatic contract renewal provision,
including: (i) the estimated bill cycle on which the
initial contract term expires and a statement that it could
be later based on when the utility accepts the initial
enrollment; (ii) the estimated bill cycle on which the new
contract term begins and a statement that it will
immediately follow the last billing cycle of the current
term; (iii) the procedure to terminate the contract before
the new contract term applies; and (iv) the cancellation
procedure. If the alternative gas supplier sells or offers
to sell the products or services to a consumer during an
in-person solicitation or telemarketing solicitation, the
disclosures described in this paragraph (1) shall also be
made to the consumer verbally during the solicitation.
Nothing in this paragraph (1) shall be construed to apply
to contracts entered into before January 1, 2020.
(2) At least 30 days before, but not more than 60 days
prior, to the end of the initial contract term, in any and
all contracts that automatically renew after the initial
term, the alternative gas supplier shall send, in addition
to other disclosures required by law, a separate written
notice of the contract renewal to the consumer that clearly
and conspicuously discloses the following:
(A) a statement printed or visible from the outside
of the envelope or in the subject line of the email, if
the customer has agreed to receive official documents
by email, that states "Contract Renewal Notice";
(B) a statement in bold lettering, in at least
12-point font, that the contract will automatically
renew unless the customer cancels it;
(C) the billing cycle in which service under the
current term will expire;
(D) the billing cycle in which service under the
new term will begin;
(E) the process and options available to the
consumer to reject the new contract terms;
(F) the cancellation process if the consumer's
contract automatically renews before the consumer
rejects the new contract terms;
(G) the terms and conditions of the new contract
term;
(H) for a fixed rate or flat bill contract, a
side-by-side comparison of the current fixed rate or
flat bill to the new fixed rate or flat bill; for a
variable rate contract or time-of-use product in which
the first month's renewal price can be determined, a
side-by-side comparison of the current price and the
price for the first month of the new variable or
time-of-use price; or for a variable or time-of-use
contract based on a publicly available index, a
side-by-side comparison of the current formula and the
new formula; and
(I) the phone number and email address to submit a
consumer inquiry or complaint to the Illinois Commerce
Commission and the Office of the Attorney General.
(3) An alternative gas supplier shall not
automatically renew a consumer's enrollment after the
current term of the contract expires when the current term
of the contract provides that the consumer will be charged
a fixed rate and the renewed contract provides that the
consumer will be charged a variable rate, unless: (i) the
alternative gas supplier complies with paragraphs (1) and
(2); and (ii) the customer expressly consents to the
contract renewal in writing or by electronic signature at
least 30 days, but no more than 60 days, before the
contract expires.
(4) An alternative gas supplier shall not submit a
change to a customer's gas service provider in violation of
Section 19-116 of the Public Utilities Act.
(g) The provisions of this Section shall apply only to
alternative gas suppliers serving or seeking to serve
residential and small commercial customers and only to the
extent such alternative gas suppliers provide services to
residential and small commercial customers.
(Source: P.A. 97-333, eff. 8-12-11.)
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