Today`s agreement brings together Democratic and Republican governors. In addition to Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Kentucky are also led by democratic leaders. Ohio and Indiana have GOP governors. Minnesota is led by a governor who identifies himself as a member of the Democratic Lab Labor Party. Ohio`s role in the agreement was unclear. A spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine said his comments Wednesday are maintained. The Midwest agreement covers Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. The agreement, unanimously adopted by the Illinois Commerce Commission in a special session opened Thursday morning, is seen by consumer advocates as a possible model for U.S. states as they ease restrictions imposed in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. “We see this as a first step in reviewing and improving the affordability of energy,” said Karen Lusson, a national Consumer Law Center contributor who helped negotiate the agreement on behalf of Community Organizing and Family Issues.

The agreement also requires distribution companies to submit monthly reports containing credit and collection data, which are declared by postcode. The agreement also orders utility companies to restore service to customers whose service was separated last year due to a default. Utilities must send a written notification to customers whose service has been separated within two weeks and provide information on how to establish a new connection. In addition to debt cancellation, the agreement requires distribution companies to extend the period during which customers must pay overdue fees in deferred payments, with delays of up to 24 months for customers who report on financial difficulties and up to 18 months for other customers. “But the bright side of the pandemic is that it has put forward these things that we`ve been trying to present all the time,” said Grillier, who, along with Community Organizing and Family Issues, is leading an anti-poverty campaign, a group that helped negotiate the agreement and advocates for family families across Illinois. The agreement also prohibits utility companies from reporting non- or late payments to active customers at credit bureaus and reporting agencies for six months after the end of the moratorium. The agreement, reached on Thursday, extends the moratorium on late barriers and fees until 30 days after all regions of the state have reached Phase 4 of Gov. I .B. Pritzker for the reopening or until September 1, depending on what happens first. “We currently have no formal agreements or pacts,” Tierney said Wednesday.