Illinois Commerce Commission Approves Settlement Including Two-Year Marketing and Enrollment Stand Down Period and $300,000 Payment By Retail Energy Supplier
September 9, 2021
The Illinois Commerce Commission (“Commission”) recently approved a Settlement Agreement addressing allegations that Star Energy Partners, LLC (“Star Energy”) engaged in marketing and solicitation practices that were deceptive or otherwise in violation of Illinois law.
On October 25, 2018, the Commission issued a Citation Order to investigate alleged misconduct by Star Energy in violation of the Commission’s administrative rules governing marketing, sales and solicitation practices of alternative retail electric suppliers. The alleged violations included using the electric utility’s name and logo in marketing materials in a manner that implied that the supplier was working with or for the utility; including statements in marketing materials that were false, misleading, inaccurate or deceptive in that they implied certain offerings were being made in affiliation with the utility; failing to make required disclosures in the retail contract; and failing to certify that its agents completed required training programs.
On September 2, 2021, the Commission approved a Settlement Agreement between Star Energy, Commission Staff, Citizens Utility Board, and the Illinois Attorney General. Under the Settlement, Star Energy agreed to pay a total of $300,000, which is comprised of $275,000 in refunds to be paid to customers enrolled with the supplier during the relevant time period, and a $25,000 contribution to the Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (“LIHEAP”).
Star Energy also agreed to follow a Compliance Plan that was submitted as part of the Settlement. Through the Compliance Plan, Star Energy agreed to a two-year marketing and enrollment “stand down period” in Illinois, during which it will not engage in soliciting, marketing, or enrolling new customers, as well as a staggered reentry process into the Illinois market during a probationary period. If the supplier resumes sales and marketing during the probationary period, it must submit a Reengagement Plan to Commission Staff. Related requirements include:
Hiring personnel to oversee compliance efforts;
Voluntary quarterly compliance filings;
Review of training and sales and marketing materials by Commission Staff prior to reentry in the Illinois market;
Additional agent training requirements; and
Other limitations on marketing practices, including a prohibition on in-person solicitations at multi-unit residential dwellings.
This Eckert Seamans Energy Supplier Litigation Blog is intended to keep readers current on matters affecting businesses and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact Lauren Burge at 412-566-2146 (email@example.com), or any other attorney at Eckert Seamans with whom you have been working.