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Lightford protects consumers from deceptive utility plans

lightford 050219SPRINGFIELD – To protect consumers from being taken advantage of due to misinformation from alternative retail electric suppliers, Senate Majority Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) led legislation that was signed into law on Tuesday.

“The data clearly demonstrates that alternative suppliers focus their signup efforts on low-income neighborhoods, those where English is a secondary language and communities of color,” Lightford said. “I am proud to stand with Governor Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul to protect our most vulnerable residents from unknowingly signing contracts that will result in rate hikes they cannot afford.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office, over the last three years consumers who are enrolled with alternative retail electric suppliers have paid almost $400 million more in electricity costs than consumers who stayed with their default public utility.

Senate Bill 651 prevents alternative electric and gas suppliers from converting enrolled participants of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Percentage of Income Payment Plan from their current utility provider to an alternative supplier if they have received assistance in the preceding 12 months.

The proposal requires all marketing materials and customer bills to contain a price comparison of utility supply rates. Suppliers will also have to notify customers when their rates will increase. Lastly, the legislation prevents automatic contract renewals from a fixed rate contract to an adjustable rate contract unless express consent is provided by the customer.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2020.

Sen. Lightford

Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

Senate Majority Leader
4th District


Years served: 1998 - Present (Senate) 

Committee assignments: Assignments (Chairperson); Education; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive Appointments; Executive; Higher Education; Labor.

Biography: Full-time senator; B.A. in communications, Western Illinois University; M.A. in public administration, University of Illinois Springfield; village of Maywood trustee; employee for Secretary of State, Department of Corrections and Central Management Services; longtime champion in the Senate for education, working families and women's issues; lives in Maywood with her son, Isaiah.

Associated Representatives:
La Shawn K. Ford
Emanuel Chris Welch