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In Response To Legislative Committee Changes, Illinois Adopts Revised Retail Supplier Marketing Rules That Omit Requirement For Double Verification Of Retail Electric Sales

October 18, 2017

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Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • ring@energychoicematters.com

Making modifications required by the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), the Illinois Commerce Commission adopted new rules governing retail electric supplier marketing.

As previously reported, JCAR largely approved revisions to the retail electricity marketing rules as previously approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission in a second notice, but ordered several key revisions, including the elimination of double verification for in-person sales

Under the prior second notice order as adopted by the ICC that was subject to JCAR's review, all in-person solicitations that lead to an enrollment were to require both a Letter of Agency and a third-party verification. The prior second notice order defined "in-person solicitation" as, "any sale initiated or conducted when the RES [retail electric supplier] agent is physically present with the customer."

JCAR, when reviewing the second notice order, directed the ICC to eliminate the new requirement that all suppliers obtain third-party verification of door-to-door sales, in addition to a Letter of Agency. Under JCAR's revisions, suppliers may choose either a Letter of Agency or third-party verification for such sales

The ICC voted today to reflect this change in its adopted rules, and double verification (LOA plus TPV) will not be required by rule for in-person sales

ICC Chairman Brien J. Sheahan said that he was "unhappy" with the requirement to drop the double verification of door-to-door sales (by adding a TPV to the existing LOA), but said that JCAR ordered the change and said that the ICC was required to make JCAR's changes

Commissioner Miguel del Valle dissented from the approval (in a 4-1 vote), arguing that the ICC could have refused JCAR's recommendations. Sheahan said that such action was not available to the ICC

A written order was not yet available, nor was there discussion regarding other JCAR changes

As previously reported, JCAR also modified the requirements concerning supplier notifications to customers concerning a contract that is being renewed (click here for more about the requirement as previously approved by the ICC). The prior ICC second notice order was to require suppliers to notify customers by phone and a letter that a contract is being renewed. Under JCAR's revisions, a letter and, "one additional means of communication," are required

As previously reported, key reforms which survived the JCAR process without revision included:

• Requiring suppliers send customers a separate written notice when a variable rate will increase by at least 20% (see discussion as previously approved by the ICC here). Under the second notice order, "variable rate" is defined as meaning, "the charge for electric power and energy service changes at any time during the term of the contract, but does not change more than once per month." The second notice order stated, "If a residential variable rate customer's rate increases by more than 20% from one monthly billing period to the next, the RES shall send a separate written notice to the customer, informing the customer of the upcoming rate change." The second notice order defined "written" as meaning a hard copy, and the rules provide that an electronic copy satisfies the requirement for "written" notice so long as both RES and customer have agreed to electronic communication.

• Requiring suppliers to provide 12 months of pricing history for a variable rate offer (an offer that can change monthly)

• Limiting door-to-door marketing to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or dusk, whichever comes first.

• Requiring a supplier that promises savings to provide a written statement to the customer detailing such a claim.

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