ALJ Issues Proposed Order Which Would Determine Whether Retail Energy Sales Agents Must Be Vaccinated
Draft Order Addresses Full Resumption Of In-Person Sales
July 22, 2021 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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An Illinois Commerce Commission ALJ has issued a proposed order which would allow for the full resumption of all forms of in-person marketing by retail energy suppliers, and which would deny ICC Staff's proposal that retail energy sales agents must be vaccinated
The ALJ would not adopt Staff's proposed vaccination requirement for retail energy sales agents conducting in-person sales
The ALJ's proposed order states, "the Commission will not impose a vaccine requirement on ARES sales agents, many of whom may be third party vendors. Nevertheless, the Commission encourages ARES employees, sales agents or representatives to get vaccinated for health and safety reasons."
However, the ALJ would impose a mask mandate on retail energy sales agents conducting residential door-to-door sales
Specifically, the ALJ would require that, "All ARES [& AGS] employees, sales agents or representatives engaged in in-person door-to-door residential solicitation must wear face coverings throughout all solicitations, as well as observe all state or local requirements now or subsequently in effect governing such solicitations."
The ALJ's proposed order states, "the Commission finds that a mask requirement is reasonable at this time because the Commission is not mandating that all employees, sales agents or representatives engaged in in-person solicitation must be fully vaccinated."
The ALJ's mask mandate is narrower than the mask language proposed by Staff, which would have applied to all in-person sales
The ALJ stated that, "Reliant/Green Mountain argue that potential customers will assume that masked sales agents are not vaccinated and may be reluctant to talk to them. This argument contravenes Reliant/Green Mountain’s own assertion that ARES have successfully conducted in-person solicitation safely and without incident. Presumably Reliant/Green Mountain sales agents have been wearing masks during the pandemic while it was operating successfully, in compliance with previous IDPH guidelines. Additionally, it is likely that potential customers would feel more comfortable and safe speaking with masked sales agents."
The ALJ would also adopt the following uncontested conditions for the resumption of in-person sales by retail electric and natural gas suppliers:
• ARES/AGS intending to conduct in-person solicitations shall exercise careful, responsible and active oversight of employees and agents regarding compliance with all applicable federal, state and local requirements and guidelines governing the health status, and social distancing and sanitizing / disinfecting practices;
• any failure of oversight or compliance that comes to the Commission’s attention will cause the Commission to revisit any Order it issues modifying the Emergency Order; and
• such interim order [allowing the resumption of in-person sales] shall remain in effect while the State remains in Phase 5, and in the event that the State, or any part of the State, reverts to Phase 4 or below, all such in-person solicitations shall immediately cease, except to the extent permitted by the Fifth Interim Order, and then only consistent with the terms of that Order.