Illinois regulators approved a wide-ranging COVID-19 utility relief agreement Thursday that extends the state’s moratorium on utility service shut-offs until at least late July and provides nearly $50 million to help customers pay overdue bills.
As part of the deal,Illinois utilities will contribute about $47 million in combined funding to a new COVID-19 Bill Pay Assistance Program to provide relief to customers with outstanding charges. In addition to debt forgiveness,the agreement requires utilities to extend the time customers have to pay overdue charges under Deferred Payment Arrangements,with periods of up to 24 months for customers who express financial hardship and up to 18 months for other customers.
The agreement also instructs utilities to restore service for customers whose service was disconnected for nonpayment over the last year.
Illinois was among many states that prohibited utility shutoffs and late-payment fees when the pandemic hit to ensure that residents sheltering in place maintained access to electricity,gas and water in their homes.