Illinois Commerce Commission wants low-income customers who are struggling to pay their utility bills to know about changes to state law that offer relief from filing and late payment fees , and clarifies who is eligible for these new consumer protection benefits.
The Illinois General Assembly added provisions to the Public Utilities Act in the recent Climate and Equitable Jobs Act that prohibit electric utilities from charging late fees or charges to low-income customers and prohibit electric utilities from charging late fees or charges to low-income customers. low-income customers having to pay a deposit for the service to be connected. , reconnected or to continue to receive service. Gas and electric utilities are also required to reimburse deposits to low-income customers who paid them.
The law defines a low-income client as (i) a member of a household equal to or less than 80% of the median household income of the community or county; (ii) a member of a household equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty line; (iii) one eligible for the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); (iv) a person who is eligible to participate in the Income Percentage Payment Plan (RPPP or PIP Plan); or (v) a person eligible for Lifeline telephone service.
If you are eligible and a late payment charge was billed on a recent utility bill, you should first contact your utility to see if the charge can be removed from your bill. Likewise, low-income customers who have been charged a deposit by their electric or natural gas utility to have the service connected, reconnected, or to continue receiving service should first contact the utility to find out if the deposit can be refunded.
ICC’s Consumer Services division has English and Spanish speaking counselors available to assist customers requiring additional assistance between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling 1-800-524- 0795. More information can be found on the ICC Utilities Support web page.