Illinois Commerce Commission Denies Staff Motion To End ICC's Moratorium On Door-to-Door, In-Person Retail Energy Marketing
November 5, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Illinois Commerce Commission denied motions from ICC Staff which had sought orders conditionally dissolving the Commission’s March 18, 2020 Emergency Orders prohibiting alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES) and alternative gas suppliers from conducting in-person solicitations, within the meaning of Section 412.10 for ARESs, for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency
Written orders from the ICC were not immediately available. The ICC did not substantively discuss the reasons for the denial at its meeting today, though in summarizing the case the ICC had noted opposition to Staff's motions from CUB and the Attorney General, who had said that allowing in-person energy marketing presents unnecessary risks during a pandemic. The ICC voted 3-2 to deny the Staff motions
An ALJ had recommended granting Staff's motion
As exclusively first reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, Staff, in seeking orders conditionally dissolving the in-person marketing moratorium for both electricity and gas, noted that Governor JB Pritzker previously issued a five-Phase 'Restore Illinois' plan to first reduce the spread of COVID-19, and that the state is currently in Phase 4
Staff noted that, in Phase 4, meetings may be conducted, subject to certain guidelines published by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)
Staff said that, "On or about September 16, 2020, Staff became aware that DCEO had begun to interpret its own guidelines to allow in-person solicitations provided that solicitors wear masks and proper social distancing is maintained, although DCEO had not published such guidance."
Correspondence for a DCEO official included in Staff's motion states that, "door-to-door sales/solicitation is permissible so long as the salespeople wear masks and maintain social distancing."
"Since DCEO has determined that in-person solicitation is not inconsistent with Phase 4 reopening, the Commission should reconsider its March 18 Emergency Order and conditionally dissolve it. More specifically, the Commission should determine that ARES may resume in-person marketing subject to certain conditions," ICC Staff had said
Prior to Staff proposing a generic resumption of in-person marketing as described above, various retail suppliers had sought waivers or similar relief of the moratoriums for specific sales channels and types of in-person marketing, and with unique conditions proposed by each supplier. Such petitions, which would have been rendered moot by the ICC Staff proposal, remain pending. See our prior story here for details on some of these petitions