CHICAGO – State Rep. Eva-Dina Delgado, D-Chicago, is working to prevent utility companies from shutting off access during heat advisory events with newly-introduced legislation.
“We rightly limit utility interruption during cold weather months, and it’s time that we recognize the dangers heat poses as well – especially on our seniors,” Delgado said. We as a state have a responsibility to adapt our legislation to keep people safe. This includes reevaluating utility access practices during high heat and high humidity weather conditions.”
Deglado’s House Bill 1541 would mandate utility companies keep access to their services on to all customers when a heat advisory of 85 degrees and above has been issued, despite overdue bills. Current law dictates that 95 degrees and above is the threshold temperature, and utilities cannot be shut off for the 24-hour period of the weather advisory for all customers covered by the utility company operating in the affected area.
“What able-bodied and healthy adults can tolerate in terms of weather and what babies, young children, and the elderly tolerate are two very different things,” Delgado said. “These vulnerable groups are more affected by extreme heat and likely to be hospitalized, and unfortunately many have died because of a lack of access to cooling like AC units and fans. This legislation will help save lives, maintain utilities access and keep people cool during high temperature days.”
Delgado supports keeping public utilities supportive to their communities. Rep. Delgado fought to require utility providers to submit their annual rates charged to customers to the Attorney General and the Illinois Commerce Commission, allowing more oversight in the event of price increases.
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