Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB5626
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of HB5626  100th General Assembly




State of Illinois
2017 and 2018


Introduced , by Rep. Gregory Harris


220 ILCS 5/16-115A
220 ILCS 5/20-110
815 ILCS 505/2EE

    Amends the Public Utilities Act. Requires an alternative retail electric supplier to annually submit certain rate information from the prior 12-month period to the Illinois Commerce Commission and the Attorney General. Requires an alternative retail electric supplier's marketing materials to contain the current utility price. Provides that an alternative retail electric supplier that is certified to serve residential retail customers shall not charge customers who receive financial assistance from the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program an amount that exceeds the public utility supply price. Provides that existing agreements between an alternative retail electric supplier and an Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program recipient that charge the customer an amount that exceeds the public utility price shall not be renewed upon the expiration of the existing agreement. Provides that the annual report the Director of Retail Market Development submits shall include the information alternative retail electric suppliers submitted concerning rates from the prior 12-month period. Amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Provides that a violation of the provisions concerning obligations of alternative retail electric suppliers in the Public Utilities Act and its administrative rules constitutes a violation under the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Effective immediately.

LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b





HB5626LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    AN ACT concerning regulation.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Public Utilities Act is amended by changing
5Sections 16-115A and 20-110 as follows:
6    (220 ILCS 5/16-115A)
7    Sec. 16-115A. Obligations of alternative retail electric
9    (a) An alternative retail electric supplier shall:
10        (i) comply with the requirements imposed on public
11    utilities by Sections 8-201 through 8-207, 8-301, 8-505 and
12    8-507 of this Act, to the extent that these Sections have
13    application to the services being offered by the
14    alternative retail electric supplier; and
15        (ii) continue to comply with the requirements for
16    certification stated in subsection (d) of Section 16-115;
17    and .
18        (iii) on or before June 1, 2019 and every year
19    thereafter, submit to the Commission and the Office of the
20    Attorney General information about the rates the retail
21    electric supplier charged to residential customers in the
22    prior 12-month period, including each distinct rate
23    charged and whether the rate was a fixed or variable rate,



HB5626- 2 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    and any fees charged in addition to the supply rate,
2    including monthly fees, flat fees, or similar service
3    charges.
4    (b) An alternative retail electric supplier shall obtain
5verifiable authorization from a customer, in a form or manner
6approved by the Commission consistent with Section 2EE of the
7Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, before the
8customer is switched from another supplier.
9    (c) No alternative retail electric supplier, or electric
10utility other than the electric utility in whose service area a
11customer is located, shall (i) enter into or employ any
12arrangements which have the effect of preventing a retail
13customer with a maximum electrical demand of less than one
14megawatt from having access to the services of the electric
15utility in whose service area the customer is located or (ii)
16charge retail customers for such access. This subsection shall
17not be construed to prevent an arms-length agreement between a
18supplier and a retail customer that sets a term of service,
19notice period for terminating service and provisions governing
20early termination through a tariff or contract as allowed by
21Section 16-119.
22    (d) An alternative retail electric supplier that is
23certified to serve residential or small commercial retail
24customers shall not:
25        (1) deny service to a customer or group of customers
26    nor establish any differences as to prices, terms,



HB5626- 3 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    conditions, services, products, facilities, or in any
2    other respect, whereby such denial or differences are based
3    upon race, gender or income.
4        (2) deny service to a customer or group of customers
5    based on locality nor establish any unreasonable
6    difference as to prices, terms, conditions, services,
7    products, or facilities as between localities.
8    (e) An alternative retail electric supplier shall comply
9with the following requirements with respect to the marketing,
10offering and provision of products or services to residential
11and small commercial retail customers:
12        (i) Any marketing materials which make statements
13    concerning prices, terms and conditions of service shall
14    contain information that adequately discloses the prices,
15    terms and conditions of the products or services that the
16    alternative retail electric supplier is offering or
17    selling to the customer and shall contain the current
18    utility price.
19        (ii) Before any customer is switched from another
20    supplier, the alternative retail electric supplier shall
21    give the customer written information that adequately
22    discloses, in plain language, the prices, terms and
23    conditions of the products and services being offered and
24    sold to the customer.
25        (iii) An alternative retail electric supplier shall
26    provide documentation to the Commission and to customers



HB5626- 4 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    that substantiates any claims made by the alternative
2    retail electric supplier regarding the technologies and
3    fuel types used to generate the electricity offered or sold
4    to customers.
5        (iv) The alternative retail electric supplier shall
6    provide to the customer (1) itemized billing statements
7    that describe the products and services provided to the
8    customer and their prices, and (2) an additional statement,
9    at least annually, that adequately discloses the average
10    monthly prices, and the terms and conditions, of the
11    products and services sold to the customer.
12    (f) An alternative retail electric supplier may limit the
13overall size or availability of a service offering by
14specifying one or more of the following: a maximum number of
15customers, maximum amount of electric load to be served, time
16period during which the offering will be available, or other
17comparable limitation, but not including the geographic
18locations of customers within the area which the alternative
19retail electric supplier is certificated to serve. The
20alternative retail electric supplier shall file the terms and
21conditions of such service offering including the applicable
22limitations with the Commission prior to making the service
23offering available to customers.
24    (g) Nothing in this Section shall be construed as
25preventing an alternative retail electric supplier, which is an
26affiliate of, or which contracts with, (i) an industry or trade



HB5626- 5 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1organization or association, (ii) a membership organization or
2association that exists for a purpose other than the purchase
3of electricity, or (iii) another organization that meets
4criteria established in a rule adopted by the Commission, from
5offering through the organization or association services at
6prices, terms and conditions that are available solely to the
7members of the organization or association.
8    (h) Beginning September 1, 2018, an alternative retail
9electric supplier that is certified to serve residential retail
10customers shall not charge customers who receive financial
11assistance from the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance
12Program an amount that exceeds the public utility supply price.
13This amount includes the supply price and any fees or other
14charges charged by the alternative retail electric supplier.
15Existing agreements between an alternative retail electric
16supplier and an Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance
17Program recipient that charge the customer an amount that
18exceeds the public utility price shall not be renewed upon the
19expiration of the existing agreement.
20(Source: P.A. 90-561, eff. 12-16-97.)
21    (220 ILCS 5/20-110)
22    Sec. 20-110. Office of Retail Market Development. Within 90
23days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the
2494th General Assembly, subject to appropriation, the
25Commission shall establish an Office of Retail Market



HB5626- 6 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1Development and employ on its staff a Director of Retail Market
2Development to oversee the Office. The Director shall have
3authority to employ or otherwise retain at least 2
4professionals dedicated to the task of actively seeking out
5ways to promote retail competition in Illinois to benefit all
6Illinois consumers.
7    The Office shall actively seek input from all interested
8parties and shall develop a thorough understanding and critical
9analyses of the tools and techniques used to promote retail
10competition in other states.
11    The Office shall monitor existing competitive conditions
12in Illinois, identify barriers to retail competition for all
13customer classes, and actively explore and propose to the
14Commission and to the General Assembly solutions to overcome
15identified barriers. The Director may include municipal
16aggregation of customers and creating and designing customer
17choice programs as tools for retail market development.
18Solutions proposed by the Office to promote retail competition
19must also promote safe, reliable, and affordable electric
21    On or before June 30 of each year, the Director shall
22submit a report to the Commission, the General Assembly, and
23the Governor, that details specific accomplishments achieved
24by the Office in the prior 12 months in promoting retail
25electric competition and that suggests administrative and
26legislative action necessary to promote further improvements



HB5626- 7 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1in retail electric competition. On or before June 30, 2020 and
2every year thereafter, the report shall include the information
3submitted to the Commission pursuant to paragraph (iii) of
4subsection (a) of Section 16-115A.
5(Source: P.A. 94-1095, eff. 2-2-07.)
6    Section 10. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
7Practices Act is amended by changing Section 2EE as follows:
8    (815 ILCS 505/2EE)
9    Sec. 2EE. Electric service provider selection. An electric
10service provider shall not submit or execute a change in a
11subscriber's selection of a provider of electric service unless
12and until (i) the provider first discloses all material terms
13and conditions of the offer to the subscriber; (ii) the
14provider has obtained the subscriber's express agreement to
15accept the offer after the disclosure of all material terms and
16conditions of the offer; and (iii) the provider has confirmed
17the request for a change in accordance with one of the
18following procedures:
19    (a) The new electric service provider has obtained the
20subscriber's written or electronically signed authorization in
21a form that meets the following requirements:
22        (1) An electric service provider shall obtain any
23    necessary written or electronically signed authorization
24    from a subscriber for a change in electric service by using



HB5626- 8 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    a letter of agency as specified in this Section. Any letter
2    of agency that does not conform with this Section is
3    invalid.
4        (2) The letter of agency shall be a separate document
5    (an easily separable document containing only the
6    authorization language described in subparagraph (a)(5) of
7    this Section) whose sole purpose is to authorize an
8    electric service provider change. The letter of agency must
9    be signed and dated by the subscriber requesting the
10    electric service provider change.
11        (3) The letter of agency shall not be combined with
12    inducements of any kind on the same document.
13        (4) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of
14    this Section, the letter of agency may be combined with
15    checks that contain only the required letter of agency
16    language prescribed in subparagraph (a)(5) of this Section
17    and the necessary information to make the check a
18    negotiable instrument. The letter of agency check shall not
19    contain any promotional language or material. The letter of
20    agency check shall contain in easily readable, bold-face
21    type on the face of the check, a notice that the consumer
22    is authorizing an electric service provider change by
23    signing the check. The letter of agency language also shall
24    be placed near the signature line on the back of the check.
25        (5) At a minimum, the letter of agency must be printed
26    with a print of sufficient size to be clearly legible, and



HB5626- 9 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    must contain clear and unambiguous language that confirms:
2            (i) The subscriber's billing name and address;
3            (ii) The decision to change the electric service
4        provider from the current provider to the prospective
5        provider;
6            (iii) The terms, conditions, and nature of the
7        service to be provided to the subscriber must be
8        clearly and conspicuously disclosed, in writing, and
9        an electric service provider must directly establish
10        the rates for the service contracted for by the
11        subscriber; and
12            (iv) That the subscriber understand that any
13        electric service provider selection the subscriber
14        chooses may involve a charge to the subscriber for
15        changing the subscriber's electric service provider.
16        (6) Letters of agency shall not suggest or require that
17    a subscriber take some action in order to retain the
18    subscriber's current electric service provider.
19        (7) If any portion of a letter of agency is translated
20    into another language, then all portions of the letter of
21    agency must be translated into that language.
22    (b) An appropriately qualified independent third party has
23obtained, in accordance with the procedures set forth in this
24subsection (b), the subscriber's oral authorization to change
25electric suppliers that confirms and includes appropriate
26verification data. The independent third party (i) must not be



HB5626- 10 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1owned, managed, controlled, or directed by the supplier or the
2supplier's marketing agent; (ii) must not have any financial
3incentive to confirm supplier change requests for the supplier
4or the supplier's marketing agent; and (iii) must operate in a
5location physically separate from the supplier or the
6supplier's marketing agent.
7    Automated third-party verification systems and 3-way
8conference calls may be used for verification purposes so long
9as the other requirements of this subsection (b) are satisfied.
10    A supplier or supplier's sales representative initiating a
113-way conference call or a call through an automated
12verification system must drop off the call once the 3-way
13connection has been established.
14    All third-party verification methods shall elicit, at a
15minimum, the following information: (i) the identity of the
16subscriber; (ii) confirmation that the person on the call is
17authorized to make the supplier change; (iii) confirmation that
18the person on the call wants to make the supplier change; (iv)
19the names of the suppliers affected by the change; (v) the
20service address of the supply to be switched; and (vi) the
21price of the service to be supplied and the material terms and
22conditions of the service being offered, including whether any
23early termination fees apply. Third-party verifiers may not
24market the supplier's services by providing additional
25information, including information regarding procedures to
26block or otherwise freeze an account against further changes.



HB5626- 11 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    All third-party verifications shall be conducted in the
2same language that was used in the underlying sales transaction
3and shall be recorded in their entirety. Submitting suppliers
4shall maintain and preserve audio records of verification of
5subscriber authorization for a minimum period of 2 years after
6obtaining the verification. Automated systems must provide
7consumers with an option to speak with a live person at any
8time during the call.
9    (c) When a subscriber initiates the call to the prospective
10electric supplier, in order to enroll the subscriber as a
11customer, the prospective electric supplier must, with the
12consent of the customer, make a date-stamped, time-stamped
13audio recording that elicits, at a minimum, the following
15        (1) the identity of the subscriber;
16        (2) confirmation that the person on the call is
17    authorized to make the supplier change;
18        (3) confirmation that the person on the call wants to
19    make the supplier change;
20        (4) the names of the suppliers affected by the change;
21        (5) the service address of the supply to be switched;
22    and
23        (6) the price of the service to be supplied and the
24    material terms and conditions of the service being offered,
25    including whether any early termination fees apply.
26    Submitting suppliers shall maintain and preserve the audio



HB5626- 12 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1records containing the information set forth above for a
2minimum period of 2 years.
3    (d) Complaints may be filed with the Illinois Commerce
4Commission under this Section by a subscriber whose electric
5service has been provided by an electric service supplier in a
6manner not in compliance with this Section. If, after notice
7and hearing, the Commission finds that an electric service
8provider has violated this Section, the Commission may in its
9discretion do any one or more of the following:
10        (1) Require the violating electric service provider to
11    refund to the subscriber charges collected in excess of
12    those that would have been charged by the subscriber's
13    authorized electric service provider.
14        (2) Require the violating electric service provider to
15    pay to the subscriber's authorized electric supplier the
16    amount the authorized electric supplier would have
17    collected for the electric service. The Commission is
18    authorized to reduce this payment by any amount already
19    paid by the violating electric supplier to the subscriber's
20    authorized provider for electric service.
21        (3) Require the violating electric subscriber to pay a
22    fine of up to $1,000 into the Public Utility Fund for each
23    repeated and intentional violation of this Section.
24        (4) Issue a cease and desist order.
25        (5) For a pattern of violation of this Section or for
26    intentionally violating a cease and desist order, revoke



HB5626- 13 -LRB100 20870 SMS 36368 b

1    the violating provider's certificate of service authority.
2    (e) For purposes of this Section, "electric service
3provider" shall have the meaning given that phrase in Section
46.5 of the Attorney General Act.
5    (f) A violation of Section 16-115A of the Public Utilities
6Act and the administrative rules adopted thereunder at 83 Ill.
7Adm. Code Part 412 also constitutes a violation of this
9(Source: P.A. 95-700, eff. 11-9-07.)
10    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
11becoming law.