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IL Administrative Code Part 280 Rules Implementation Checklist

 
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has developed new procedures for Gas, Electric, Water and Sanitary Sewer Utilities governing Eligibility for Service, Deposits, Billing, Payments, Refunds and Disconnection of Service. Known as the Part 280 Rule, the procedures became effective November 1, 2014, and shall be implemented as quickly as reasonably practicable but in no event later than May 1, 2016. The Part 280 Rule replaces the prior ICC Rule which had been in effect since 1979 (the old Rule).


The Checklist below provides the status of Ameren Illinois’ implementation of the Part 280 Rule. The completion date(s) listed in the Checklist are derived from Ameren Illinois' Implementation Plan which has been approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission. Ameren Illinois plans to complete all work necessary to ensure compliance by the end of the month in which a change or modification is scheduled to occur. The Implementation Checklist also references the Part 280 Rule Subpart and Section that impose each requirement, a general description of each requirement, and a general description of the old rule it replaces, if applicable. To view the Part 280 Rules in their entirety, please visit the Illinois Commerce Commission.
For questions concerning Ameren Illinois’ Part 280 Implementation Checklist, please call us toll free at 1.800.755.5000.


View Ameren Illinois' Implementation Checklist.

Last Updated: 5/2/2016



Subpart A: General 
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Section 280.5 Policy 
The purpose of this section is to ensure that essential utility services are provided to and maintained for the people of the State of Illinois under reasonable terms and conditions, and to establish fair and equitable procedures governing eligibility for service, deposits, billing, payments, refunds and disconnection of utilities that take into account the duty of the utility, customer, applicant and occupant to demonstrate good faith and fair dealing.
  Completion Date: Compliant
   
Section 280.10 Exemptions 
Outlines the process by which a utility may request a modification to or exemption from the 280 Rule.
  Completion Date: Compliant
   
Section 280.15 Compliance
Outlines requirements and deadlines for compliance with the New Rule. The utility must file an Implementation Plan with the ICC and update that Plan every 120 days. The New Rule also requires the utility to post an Implementation Checklist on its website to keep the public abreast of its progress. The Checklist is to be updated every 30 days. Full compliance is required within 18 months or by May 1, 2016. 
  Completion Date: Compliant
   
Section 280.20 Definitions
Defines multiple terms used throughout the New Rule. Most terms are not new; however, the definition of a "Low Income Customer" has been added. A Low Income Customer is defined as a residential customer who has qualified under the income criteria of Section 6 of the Energy Assistance Act of 1989 [305 ILCS 20/6]. The New Rule defines the length of time that a customer is considered Low Income and requires the utility to notify customers if their designation is about to expire. Other new or modified definitions are discussed in their respective sections.
  Completion Date: Completed 1/30/2015 
 
 
Subpart B: Applications for Utility Service 
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Section 280.30 Application 
Allows a utility to use reasonable means to verify the identity of its customers. Applicants shall have the right to a reasonable application process that allows them to obtain utility services without delay, while also safeguarding utilities and other customers from potential harm associated with fraud or the uncollected debts of applicants.
  Completion Date: Completed 4/30/2016
   
Section 280.35 Landlord & Property Manager Agreements 
Outlines the rights and duties of the utility and the landlord/property manager with respect to the assumption of billing responsibility and continuance of service when a tenant vacates a premise and the utility has no customer of record. It also describes the process by which a utility may prearrange with a landlord/property manager to place service in the name of the landlord/property manager for continuous service to a location after a tenant vacates.  
  Completion Date: Completed 3/18/2016 
   
   
Subpart C: Deposits
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Section 280.40 Deposits
Outlines the conditions under which a utility may assess a deposit for both Applicant and a Customer. It also includes specific information to be contained in correspondence requesting the deposit, the calculation of deposit amounts, deposit interest, conditions for refund and data collection and maintenance requirements. Parameters for a deposit assessed to a current customer have changed significantly. Rather than counting the number of late payments alone, the age of the past due balance is now considered. Guidelines for deposits assessed to non-residential applicants and customers have also changed significantly. 
 
  Completion Date: 4/30/2016  
     

Section 280.45 Deposits - Low Income Customers 
Specific deposit assessment prohibitions for the Low Income Customer/Applicant. Deposits may not be assessed in the following instances: credit scoring, continual late payments or an unpaid final bill less than 20% of the average annual billing for residential customers. Instances in which a deposit may be assessed include tampering and previous disconnection for non-payment. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 1/30/2015
 
     
     
Subpart D: Regular Billing
 
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Section 280.50 Billing 
Establishes minimum billing content and billing disclosure requirements. This Section also addresses items such as bill delivery, bill due dates and itemizations of transfers. 
 
  Completion Date: Expected Completion May 2016  
     
     
Subpart E: Payment   
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Section 280.60 Payment
Describes the assessment of late payment fees and addresses methods of payment and the utility's obligation to communicate all available methods of payment. Under the New Rule, the utility is obligated to notify a customer when certain forms of payment are no longer available to a customer due to multiple returns. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 4/8/2016  
     


Section 280.65 Late Payment Fee Waiver for Low Income Customers 
Prohibits late fee assessment for Low Income Customers. However, late fees assessed prior to the Low Income designation are not required to be removed. Conversely, late fees waived while a customer was designated Low Income shall not be assessed retroactively once the designation is removed. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 1/30/2015
 
     

 
Section 280.70 Preferred Payment Date
Describes the changes in various government benefits programs that establish a customer's eligibility for a preferred payment date and requires the utility to proactively notify customers of the program. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 1/30/2015
 
     

 
Section 280.80 Budget Payment Plan 
Provides a process to equalize monthly payments for utility service, based upon the customer's average bill over the previous 12 months. The language in the New Rule provides guidance on eligibility, bill itemization, required periodic adjustments, reconciliation, transfer and cancellation. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015
 
     
     
Subpart F: Irregular Billing   
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Section 280.90 Estimated Bills
Describes the utility's responsibility to obtain actual readings of the customer's meter and the process by which a utility may issue an estimated bill to a customer when the utility is unable to obtain an actual reading or a customer reading. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015
 
     

 
Section 280.100 Previously Unbilled Service 
Provides for billing and payment of previously unbilled service caused by errors in measuring or calculating a customer's bill. The section more clearly defines the itemization required on the bill and the customer's rights to an extended payment plan without exhausting normal Deferred Payment Arrangement options. 
 
  Completion Date: Compliant
 
     
     
Subpart G: Refunds and Credits
 
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Section 280.110 Refunds and Credits 
Describes the procedures for customers to receive credits and refunds for overpayments and overcharges for utility service. The New Rule adds details about items such as credits and refunds associated with utility error and those that are not, the interest to be paid, itemization on the bill and time limits for filing complaints. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015
 
     
     
Subpart H: Payments Arrangements   
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Section 280.120 Deferred Payment Arrangements (DPA) 
Outlines structure and requirements of Deferred Payment Arrangements, addressing items such as eligibility, down payment, length, reinstatement and renegotiation, with the ultimate goal of allowing the customer to successfully retire the debt and retain utility service. The most significant changes in the New Rule include the requirement to notify customers of the utility’s ability to reinstate a defaulted agreement, the ability to assess a reinstatement fee, the ability to offer multiple reinstatements over the course of the DPA and the removal of the option to renegotiate a DPA once it has defaulted. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015
 
     

 
Section 280.125 Deferred Payment Arrangements (DPA) for Low Income Customers 
Outlines the altered DPA provisions for the Low Income Customer. The new type of DPA offers a lower down payment than the traditional DPA and has an option to be amended provided that the customer meets the criteria described in the New Rule.
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
     
     
Subpart I: Disconnection   
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Section 280.130 Disconnection - General 
Provides the customer adequate notice and reason for disconnection; allow the customer to remedy the problem and avoid disconnection; create an expectation to act upon notice by a utility when a customer does not remedy the problem; and set prohibitions and limits on disconnection under certain circumstances. The New Rule contains revised guidance on time of day, day of week and holiday limits on disconnections. It also creates an expectation for the utility to act on the Disconnection Notices it delivers. Customer courtesies such as a proactive phone call are also required. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015   
     

 
Section 280.135 Disconnection - Winter 
Describes the conditions which must be met and the actions to be taken by the utility before terminating service on any residential or master-metered account between December 1 and March 31. 
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
     

 
Section 280.140 Disconnection - Lack of Access to Multi-Meter Premises 
Describes the necessary steps the utility takes, up to and including disconnection, when access to disconnect a non-paying customer is prevented. In addition, this section contains requirements for expedited reconnection and credits to compensate paying customers affected by the non-paying customer's disconnection.
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
     

 
Section 280.150 Disconnection - Master Metered Buildings 
Describes the procedures for disconnection of service to accounts affecting master-metered apartment buildings when a landlord or property manager has not paid the utility bill for the master-metered account.
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
     
     
Subpart J: Medical Certification   
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Section 280.160 Medical Certification 
The intent of this section is to temporarily prohibit disconnection of utility service to a residential customer for at least 60 days in cases of certified medical necessity and to provide an opportunity for the customer to retire past due amounts by periodic installments under an automatic medical payment arrangement commencing after 30 days. The New Rule separates Medical Certification into two categories: Certification submitted before disconnection and Certification submitted after disconnection. Going forward, the timing of the submission will dictate the terms of the Medical Payment Arrangement. Additionally, protection under a Medical Certification has been increased from an initial 30 days plus 30 days for a renewal to a flat 60 days and Medical Certification is now an annual entitlement, regardless of failure to pay the previous balance. The New Rule also imposes requirements for tracking the number of Medical Certificates received, accepted and denied. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 3/18/2016  
     
     
Subpart K: Reconnection   
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Section 280.170 Timely Reconnection of Service
Provides for the timely reconnection of disconnected customers after they have remedied the reasons for the disconnection or provided valid medical certification. The New Rule requires the prioritization of orders based on Medical Certification, company error and normal reconnections. Each category has specific time frames allowed. When timelines are not met, this section outlines the applicable compensation credits given to customers.  
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015
 
     


Section 280.180 Reconnection of Former Residential Customers for the Heating Season 
Provides guidelines by which a former residential customer, disconnected for non-payment, can be reconnected with a partial payment accompanied by a deferred payment arrangement for the remaining balance.
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
     
     
Subpart L: Unauthorized Service Usage   
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Section 280.190 Treatment of Illegal Taps 
Under this section, an illegal tap is defined as theft of service from another utility customer. The purpose of this section is to require the utility to investigate high bills resulting from an abnormal or unexplained increase in consumption alleged by a customer. 
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
     

 
Section 280.200 Tampering
Describes the process by which the utility shall bill the customer for unauthorized usage when the utility has proof that the customer benefited from tampering. The section also provides guidance on presenting proof, investigating timely, notifying the customer and keeping accurate records.  
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015
 
     

 
Section 280.205 Non-Residential Tampering
Further defines utility responses to cases of tampering for Non-Residential customers. The utility has the right to disconnect service and bill charges associated with the unauthorized use, which must be paid prior to reconnection. 
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
     

 
Section 280.210 Payment Avoidance by Location
Defines the process by which a utility may protect itself and its ratepayers from persons seeking to use a pattern of action to avoid payment for service used at a specific service location.  
 
  Completion Date: April 2016
 
     
     
Subpart M: Complaint Procedures   
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Section 280.220 Utility Complaint Process
The New Rule retains the basic guidelines of the Old Rule but adds detail, including a timeline for utility response, procedures for supervisory appeal, procedures to handle complaints regarding third-party services, the assignment of complaint numbers and their prioritization. The New Rule also outlines consumer protections offered while the complaint is being reviewed and after its resolution.
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015   
     

 
Section 280.230 Commission Complaint Process
The New Rule retains the basic guidelines of the Old Rule, but details the process by which the consumer initiates the complaint, the process by which the ICC submits it to the utility and the expectations for response by the utility.
 
  Completion Date: Compliant  
     
     
Subpart N: Information   
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Section 280.240 Public Notice of Commission Rules
Since most utilities no longer transact business in person, the New Rule has been updated to require the utility to post the same information on its website and to notify its customers annually of the availability of the 280 Rule.
 
  Completion Date: December 2015  
     

 
Section 280.250 Second Language Requirements
The language in the New Rule is the same as the Old Rule. 
 
  Completion Date: Compliant  
     

 
Section 280.260 Customer Information Packet
The New Rule specifically describes the required content of the Customer Information Packet. In addition, the New Rule defines new requirements for distribution of the material. A printed copy must be sent to all new customers and made available for mailing upon customer request. The information must also be available to a customer on the utility website. The utility is also required to provide customers annual notice of the availability of the material and provide the ICC Consumer Services Division a copy of the material.  
 
  Completion Date: Compliant  
     

 
Appendix A: Disconnection Notice
The New Rule describes the information required on the disconnection notice and its format. The most significant changes to the notice are the addition of an effective date, an expiration date and the change in the number of days of protection the customer is afforded under a Medical Certification. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015   
     

 
Appendix B: Customer Rights Information for Disconnection Notice 
The New Rule requires that the reverse side of the Disconnection Notice contain information about payment methods, Deferred Payment Arrangements (DPAs), DPA reinstatement and renegotiation rules, financial aid, medical certification, military status, deposits, reconnection and ICC contact information. 
 
  Completion Date: Completed 11/20/2015
 
     

 
Appendix C: Public Notice 
The biggest change to this requirement is the addition of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) website address to view the new Rule. 
 
  Completion Date: December 2015   
     

 
Appendix D: Disconnection Notice Insert 
All residential accounts receiving Disconnection Notices must receive an accompanying insert describing the steps necessary to obtain and successfully complete a Deferred Payment Arrangement (DPA). The language of the Old Rule and the New Rule is very similar; the rules for payment arrangements have changed only slightly. The new insert contains language addressing the new Low Income DPA and the updated requirements for renegotiation. 
 
  Completion Date: Compliant   
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