(The Center Square) – The Illinois Commerce Commission has announced that it will continue to help residents who are struggling to pay their utility bills due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Spokeswoman Victoria Crawford said the moratorium on disconnections has voluntarily been extended by several state regulated utilities through the winter of 2021 for eligible low-income residential customers, and those who self-report to utilities that they are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship.
“There had been an agreement in place that had put a moratorium in place on residential shutoff until September 30, but now that has been extended,” Crawford said. “We went back to the utilities (companies) and said, ‘Hey, we would like to see you extend the moratorium,’ and most of them did.”
Crawford said Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, Commonwealth Edison’ Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and Utility Services of Illinois have committed to extending the moratorium on utility disconnections for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program qualified residential customers and those financially impacted by COVID-19.
”Low-income families and those impacted by COVID-19 should not have to fear losing basic services like electricity, heat or fresh water,” Crawford said.
The moratorium relies on residents who are struggling to pay their bills to communicate with their utility provider to work out a solution to their fiscal emergency.
“Say you are out of work, and there is just no way you can pay your utility bills. You got to get on the phone and explain the situation,” Crawford said. “Communication is the key.”
The Citizens Utility Board, a non-profit that helps residents deal with utility bill issues, says it’s helpful to those hurt fiscally by the pandemic that the ICC has required all private water, electric and natural gas utilities in Illinois to suspend service disconnections, waive late-payment penalties, while implementing temporary flexible credit and payment procedures to ensure all customers remain connected to essential utility service.
via The Center Square
November 9, 2020 at 08:19PM