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Collins speaks out against deceptive marketing by power companies

collins 042419 Plan by Attorney General would require clarity in advertising

CHICAGO – State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) spoke out in support of a plan by Attorney General Kwame Raoul to hold power companies accountable for deceptive marketing intended to ensnare customers into more expensive utility plans.

“As we are all trying to be more mindful of our personal environmental impact, it is unfortunate that some alternative retail electric and gas suppliers have used misleading marketing to prey upon consumers. At a time when so many families in Illinois fight just to keep the heat on, these high-priced energy contracts are particularly predatory, targeting those who can least afford a higher bill,” Collins said. “That’s why I’m glad to co-sponsor the HEAT Act and work with Attorney General Raoul in bringing an end to these practices.”

The HEAT Act (Senate Bill 651) would protect consumers by:

  • Improving the Attorney General’s existing authority to protect consumers from suppliers’ unlawful and deceptive marketing practices;
  • Protecting public energy assistance funds, LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) and PIPP (Percentage of Income Payment Plan), from being wasted to pay the higher prices charged by alternative retail energy supporters;
  • Requiring the utility’s comparison price to be included on all supplier marketing materials, during telephone or door-to-door solicitations, and on every consumer’s utility bill so consumers can make informed price comparisons;
  • Requiring suppliers to notify customers before their rates rise so consumers can take informed action;
  • Preventing suppliers from renewing a consumer’s contract and raising rates without notifying the consumer of the new rate and obtaining the consumer’s consent; and
  • Requiring suppliers to report their rates to the Illinois Commerce Commission and Attorney General.

The measure is scheduled for consideration in the Illinois Senate.