PEORIA — Tired of the alternative electric suppliers who go door to door and try to get you to sign up to change your service?
They'll soon face greater regulation by the state under a measure signed this week by Gov. JB Pritzker that was sponsored by state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria.
The legislation, the Home Energy Affordability and Transparency Act — or HEAT — requires, among other things:
That solicitors must be trained before going on in-person solicitations; that solicitors must stop their sales pitch if they find a consumer doesn't understand or speak English; and that customers are not only told how long a contract lasts, but get a reminder between one and two months before it is renewed.
It also prevents suppliers from switching people from a fixed rate to a variable rate contract without their consent, and eliminates any termination fees or penalties. And the bill requires a comparison price to be included on handouts and in face-to-face interactions.
The bill was a top initiative from first-term state Attorney General Kwame Raoul.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding to fight alongside AG Raoul to lower utility costs for families and seniors by cracking down on misinformation and misrepresentations provided by alternative retail energy suppliers," Gordon-Booth said in a news release. "Some of the deceptive practices that we uncovered were intentionally targeted at low-income, black and brown communities.”
Officials at the Citizens Utility Board cheered the move and, in a statement, said they "are dedicated to working with the Illinois Commerce Commission and Attorney General Raoul to help enforce these new rules and build a better market for Illinois consumers."
The bill goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.