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SPRINGFIELD – To protect residents from losing access to their electric or gas services, State Senator Steve Stadelman led legislation through the Senate to prevent the disconnection of services for customers actively seeking energy payment assistance.

“This is a significant step in ensuring that all Illinois residents have access to the energy they need, especially during difficult times,” said Stadelman (D-Rockford). “No family should have to choose between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table.”

The legislation would require utility companies with more than 500,000 customers to enact procedures to prevent the disconnection of services for customers who are actively seeking energy payment assistance. Customers who apply for assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or the Percentage of Income Payment Plan would be protected from disconnection for 30 days after the utility receives notice of the customer’s application. If assistance is received, the customer is protected for an additional 45 days.

“This measure is not just about preventing disconnections – it’s about maintaining the dignity and well-being of our residents,” said Stadelman. “Access to utilities is a fundamental need, and this bill ensures that need is met for everyone, regardless of their financial situation.”

House Bill 4118 passed the Senate on Thursday.