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.
- 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.
- 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/.
- 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.