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220 ILCS 5/8-207

    (220 ILCS 5/8-207) (from Ch. 111 2/3, par. 8-207)
    Sec. 8-207. Any former residential customer whose gas or electric service was used to provide or control the primary source of space heating in the dwelling and whose service is disconnected for nonpayment of a bill or a deposit from December 1 of the prior winter's heating season through April 1 of the current heating season shall be eligible for reconnection and a deferred payment arrangement under the provisions of this Section, subject to the following limitations:
    A utility shall not be required to reconnect service to, and enter into a deferred payment arrangement with, a former customer under the provisions of this Section (1) except between November 1 and April 1 of the current heating season for former customers who do not have applications pending for the program described in Section 6 of the Energy Assistance Act, and except between October 1 and April 1 of the current heating season for all former customers who do have applications pending for the program described in Section 6 of the Energy Assistance Act and who provide proof of application to the utility, (2) in 2 consecutive years, (3) unless that former customer has paid at least 33 1/3% of the amount billed for utility service rendered by that utility subsequent to December 1 of the prior year, or (4) in any instance where the utility can show there has been tampering with the utility's wires, pipes, meters (including locking devices), or other service equipment and further shows that the former customer enjoyed the benefit of utility service obtained in the aforesaid manner.
    The terms and conditions of any deferred payment arrangements established by the utility and a former customer shall take into consideration the following factors, based upon information available from current utility records or provided by the former customer:
        (1) the amount past due;
        (2) the former customer's ability to pay;
        (3) the former customer's payment history;
        (4) the reasons for the accumulation of the past due
amounts; and
        (5) any other relevant factors relating to the former
customer's circumstances.
    After the former customer's eligibility has been established in accordance with the first paragraph of this Section and, upon the establishment of a deferred payment agreement, the former customer shall pay 1/3 of the amount past due (including reconnecting charge, if any) and 1/3 of any deposit required by the utility.
    Upon the payment of 1/3 of the amount past due and 1/3 of any deposit required by the utility, the former customer's service shall be reconnected as soon as possible. The company and the former customer shall agree to a payment schedule for the remaining balances which will reasonably allow the former customer to make the payments on the remainder of the deposit and the past due balance while paying current bills during the winter heating season. However, the utility is not obliged to make payment arrangements extending beyond the following November. The utility shall allow the former customer a minimum of 4 months in which to retire the past due balance and 3 months in which to pay the remainder of the deposit. The former customer shall also be informed that payment on the amounts past due and the deposit, if any, plus the current bills must be paid by the due date or the customer may face termination of service pursuant to this Section and Section 8-206.
    The Commission shall develop rules to govern the reconnection of a former customer who demonstrates a financial inability to meet the requirement of 1/3 of the amount past due and 1/3 of any deposit requested by the utility. The Commission's rules shall establish a means by which the former customer's utility service may be reconnected through the payment of a reasonable amount and upon entering into a deferred payment agreement.
    Any payment agreement made shall be in writing, with a copy provided to the former customer. The renegotiation and reinstatement of a customer and the establishment of a budget payment plan shall be pursuant to rules established by the Commission.
    Not later than September 15 of each year, every gas and electric utility shall conduct a survey of all former residential customers whose gas or electric service was used to provide or control the primary source of space heating in the dwelling and whose gas or electric service was terminated for nonpayment of a bill or deposit from December 1 of the previous year to September 15 of that year and where service at that premises has not been restored. Not later than October 1 of each year the utility shall notify each of these former customers that the gas or electric service will be restored by the company for the coming heating season if the former customer contacts the utility and makes arrangements with the utility for reconnection of service under the conditions set forth in this Section. A utility shall notify the former customer or an adult member of the household by personal visit, telephone contact or mailing of a letter by first class mail to the last known address of that former customer. The utility shall keep records which would indicate the date, form and the results of such contact.
    Each gas and electric utility which has former customers affected by this Section shall file reports with the Commission providing such information as the Commission may deem appropriate. The Commission shall notify each gas and electric utility prior to August 1 of each year concerning the information which is to be included in the report for that year.
    In no event shall any actions taken by a utility in compliance with this Section be deemed to abrogate or in any way interfere with the utility's rights to pursue the normal collection processes otherwise available to it.
    The Commission shall promulgate rules to implement this Section.
(Source: P.A. 92-690, eff. 7-18-02.)