ILLINOIS (IRN) — Illinoisans facing difficulties paying utility bills as a result of the pandemic are getting a short reprieve.
The Illinois Commerce Commission has announced several of Illinois’ state-regulated electric, water, sewer, and natural gas utilities have voluntarily agreed to extend the moratorium on disconnections for residential customers.
Nicor Gas, Northshore/Peoples Gas, Illinois American Water, Aqua Illinois and Utility Services of Illinois have moved the extension to Sept. 30. ComEd and Ameren Illinois have agreed to extend the moratorium through Sept. 10.
Consumer Gas and Liberty Utilities had previously agreed not to disconnect customers until six months after the stipulated moratorium period expired in June, taking them well past September.
“Given the rise in positive COVID-19 cases in communities across Illinois, and the prerequisite for residents to stay connected to school work and family during the pandemic, I am pleased that several of the state’s larger regulated utilities have once again agreed to extend the moratorium on disconnections for residential customers,” ICC Chairman Carrie Zalewski said.
Terry Mackin, director of communications for Illinois American Water, encouraged those having trouble paying their water bill to inquire about the H2O Help to Others program, a partnership with the Salvation Army that provides supplemental funding to those in need.
“There are funds available to help our water and wastewater customers with their bills to help them get through a challenging time,” Mackin said.
Jennifer Golz, a media relations manager with Nicor Gas, said there are 152,000 customers who have past due balances of more than 60 days.
“If those are customers who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic, they still have time to make account arrangements and learn how we might be able to help them,” she said.
Golz said $4.5 million is available through the Nicor Gas’ COVID-19 bill payment assistance bill program.