Hepler Broom, LLC

Government Monitoring of COVID-19 in Illinois

March 25, 2020

HeplerBroom understands how staying abreast of the latest developments related to COVID-19 is important to your business and planning for the future. We have assembled some of the executive, legislative, and regulatory actions related to COVID-19 that may affect you. Illinois has recently taken a number of actions to manage this public health crisis, which are summarized below.

ENERGY SECTOR/UTILITIES/MUNICIPALITIES

  • Recently, the Illinois Commerce Commission (“ICC”) voted unanimously to formalize Governor Pritzker and the ICC’s request of Illinois electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater utilities to cease disconnections and the threat of disconnections during this public health emergency. In addition to ceasing disconnections and the threat of disconnections, the order also called on the utilities to suspend late payment fees until the crisis has passed and to also implement flexible utility credit and collection procedures. The stated purpose of this measure is to ensure that customers will remain connected to essential utility services and that all employees and citizens remain healthy during and until the ending of this public health emergency. Please follow this link to see the ICC’s order to cease utility disconnections: https://www.icc.illinois.gov/home/covid-19.
  • ICC has also asked consumers to minimize contact with utility workers who must work in certain neighborhoods. The undeniable fact of this all is that there are some people who need to continue working outside to make this mass confinement of others possible. By minimizing contact with those who are not directed to stay home, the State can ensure that we are maximizing the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 further. For details, see https://www.icc.illinois.gov/home/covid-19.

GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL

  • According to The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (“IEPA”) announced its update via an online discussion earlier this week. The agency noted that it will be using enforcement discretion during the current state of emergency. While all rules and regulations on manufacturers are still in place, the agency will be using its own discretion when determining whether or not to enforce non-critical regulations and all decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. The purpose for this is to maximize the number of employees working from home and be as flexible as possible with the unusual circumstances everyone is currently facing. https://ima-net.org/covid-19/.

GOVERNMENT OFFICES

  • In order to limit personal contact, several government offices are closing their walk-in services. Until further notice, there is no walk-in access to the Illinois Commerce Commission Transportation Bureau’s Offices in Springfield and Des Plaines. However, applications with original signatures and appropriate fees can still be mailed to the Illinois Commerce Commission in Springfield, Illinois. They are also available via phone or e-mail for any questions or concerns. For more information and continuous updates, see this link to the ICC website: https://www.icc.illinois.gov/home/covid-19.
  • There is no walk-in access to the Illinois Commerce Commission Public Utility Division, Chief Clerk’s Office. Applications with original signatures should be mailed to the Illinois Commerce Commission Springfield address. They are also available via phone or e-mail for any questions or concerns.
  • Direct access to certain buildings, such as the Consumer Services Division, is available but with significant limitations. Although the direct access to these services, along with many others, is limited or unavailable, employees and representatives of each can be contacted through mail or phone or through the ICC website.

A public emergency such as the one we are experiencing with COVID-19 is unlike anything any of us has ever experienced. In an effort to continue to keep citizens safe, Illinois has also worked to keep many businesses and services running. Like many, HeplerBroom attorneys are diligently working from their homes to keep both clients and the community at large updated as to executive, legislative, and regulatory actions in the midst of COVID-19.

HeplerBroom attorney Emilee M. Bramstedt contributed to this blog post.

COVID-19 Updates

HeplerBroom LLC COVID-19 Response

HeplerBroom has been diligently working on its response and continuity plan to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our clients as our top priority.

To help ensure everyone’s continued health and well-being, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all attorneys and staff will be working remotely until March 31. This is an unprecedented and dynamic situation, and HeplerBroom is committed to observing governmental suggestions and requirements concerning public health while continuing to provide legal service second to none.

To ensure this, the firm has identified essential personnel in each office who will make certain that critical firm functions that cannot be done remotely continue to be handled. We have put in place protocol for those essential personnel to make sure they are keeping healthy per the CDC cleaning and sanitizing recommendations. All teams have back-up personnel and procedures that we will follow to make sure all deadlines are met and clients receive the same great service and work product that we have always been proud to provide.

HeplerBroom’s IT department has been working hard to make sure all remote employees are set up with equipment and access from home to limit disruption to our clients. Maintaining security and confidentiality has remained, and will continue to remain, at the forefront of all processes and procedures, at all levels throughout the firm.

The firm has created emergency communication measures to communicate any changes to this plan to employees and are communicating on a regular basis with any and all new resources and helpful information during this uncertain time.

During these fluid and unpredictable times, HeplerBroom will continue its commitment to great service and results for our clients, all while keeping safe and healthy.

Wishing you and your families good health.