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Utility Assistance

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  • Utility Assistance   (Spanish

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to immediately institute a moratorium on shutoffs for all utility companies across Illinois - including energy, telecommunications and water - until the state disaster proclamation has been lifted. The administration also requested changes to payment and collection policies to ensure Illinoisans aren't saddled with utility debt as a result of COVID-19. Several have announced plans to maintain services and waive late payment fees.

Several Illinois utilities have announced that they voluntarily ceased disconnections for all residential customers through the winter months. The voluntary moratorium on residential disconnections applies to customers of Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Liberty Utilities, Nicor, North Shore and Peoples Gas, providing greater protection to all residential customers than the statutory winter rules scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2020.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water and Utility Services of Illinois have agreed to cease disconnections of participants in the State’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) and those who self-report to the utility that they are suffering financial or COVID-19 related hardship until March 31, 2021. For this protection, it is critical that LIHEAP and PIPP customers proactively contact their water utility to let them know about their status as participants in those programs. Likewise, all other water customers who are struggling with hardships during the pandemic must contact the water utility to self-report that hardship status in order to avoid disconnection.

Stipulated agreements reached between the utilities, consumer advocate groups and the ICC have also put into place bill payment assistance programs and extended deferred payment arrangements (DPAs) that vary by utility. Through December 26, 2020, residential customers can enter into longer DPAs with smaller down payments. To receive assistance benefits and to prevent disconnection, customers need to act quickly by calling the utility and verbalizing their hardship situation. Contact information for the utilities offering bill payment assistance is available on the attached document.

Customers who are able to pay their utilities should continue to do so. If customers anticipate being unable to pay their utilities, they should call their providers and verbalize their hardship situation in advance of service being shut off. No documentation or written proof is needed. During these calls, customers should also ask about available options to help them catch up on payments. Financial bill assistance and more lenient deferred payment arrangement programs are being offered by the utilities, call your utility provider for more information. 

If regulated utility customers want to file a complaint against a utility or ask a question, they can call the ICC at 1-800-524-0785 between 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. An online complaint form is also available under the consumer tab of the ICC website at www.ICC.Illinois.gov. 

Additional home energy support is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). For more information and to see if you are eligible, go to the DCEO website: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CommunityServices/UtilityBillAssistance/Pages/default.aspx