Gov. Pritzker signs Home Energy Affordability and Transparency Act

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“The state will not stand idly by while companies take advantage of our residents”

information provided by the Office of the Governor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (August 29, 2019) – Taking another step to protect consumers, Governor JB Pritzker signed the Home Energy Affordability and Transparency (HEAT) Act earlier this week, shining a light on high costs associated with alternative retail electric suppliers in the electric and gas markets in Illinois.

“Illinois residents deserve to know what they’re getting into when signing up for alternative utility suppliers, and often that means high costs and deceptive practices,” said Governor Pritzker. “The state of Illinois will not stand idly by while companies take advantage of our residents. This legislation is an important step forward in lowering utility costs across the state, and I applaud Attorney General Raoul for his fierce advocacy for Illinois consumers.”

An initiative of Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office, the HEAT Act protects consumers by:

  • Requiring the utility’s comparison price to be included on all supplier marketing materials, during telephone or door-to-door solicitations, and on every consumer’s utility bill, so consumers can make informed price comparisons
  • Protecting LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) and PIPP (Percentage of Income Payment Plan) consumers from being enrolled by an alternative retail electric supplier
  • Requiring suppliers to end solicitations in which the consumer does not understand or cannot speak English
  • Requiring training for suppliers that engage in in-person solicitations and marketing
  • Ensuring that consumers receive clear information about the duration of a contract, and that suppliers provide consumers with 30 to 60 days’ notice before the contract’s renewal
  • Requiring suppliers to obtain consumers’ express consent before the contract is switched from a fixed rate to a variable rate contract
  • Preventing suppliers from charging consumers termination fees or penalties
  • Improving the Attorney General’s existing authority to protect consumers from suppliers’ unlawful and deceptive marketing practices
  • Requiring suppliers to report their rates annually to the Illinois Commerce Commission and Attorney General

Senate Bill 651 takes effect on January 1, 2020.

“Passing the HEAT Act was one of my first and top legislative priorities as Attorney General, which is why it was important to me to personally engage with the sponsors, legislators, and stakeholders to advance the HEAT Act,” said Attorney General Kwame Raoul. “My office has resolved investigations against several of these suppliers, and I am committed to using the enforcement tools in the HEAT Act to continue to protect consumers against unscrupulous energy suppliers that use fraud and deception to pad their profits at the expense of hardworking Illinoisans.”

“The HEAT Act will help Illinois consumers avoid bad deals and rip-offs, which, unfortunately, have become commonplace,” said Bryan McDaniel with Citizens Utility Board. “Every healthy market has rules, and the HEAT Act will go a long way towards improving energy markets for Illinois consumers.”