Illinois attorney general reminds state residents of winter moratorium on utility shut-offs

CHICAGO – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul this week urged state utility customers to be aware that state-regulated electric and natural gas utilities are prohibited from shutting off power and gas for customers through the winter.

All customers, regardless of financial situations cannot be disconnected through March 31, 2021 to protect the public during the cold winter months under state law, according to a Tuesday news release from the state attorney general's office.

Even with the moratorium, Raoul said in the news release he encourages residents who are behind on their bills to contact their utilities to learn about assistance options to avoid having a large balance become due all at once come springtime. Customers who need assistance may be eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, and the application period for the program is open until June 20, 2021, or until funding is exhausted.

Utility customers may be eligible for LIHEAP funding if their household income meets federal poverty level standards, according to the news release. Households also may qualify if they are now unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal poverty guidelines for 2020 are a maximum annual income of $25,520 for one person, $34,480 for a family of two and $52,400 for a family of four.

To determine eligiblity for LIHEAP or to find an agency that can help with applications, call the hotline at 1-877-411-9276 or visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website at www2.illinois.gov/dceo.

For more information about the moratorium, visit illinoisattorneygeneral.gov, or call 1-800-386-5438 for the attorney general's Chicago office, 1-800-243-0618 for the Springfield office or 1-800-243-0607 for the Carbondale office.

Katie Finlon

Katie Finlon covers local government and breaking news for DeKalb County in Illinois. She has covered local government news for Shaw Media since 2018 and has had bylines in Daily Chronicle, Kendall County Record newspapers, Northwest Herald and in public radio over the years.