A public utility is any company that is involved in the production, storage, transmission, sale, delivery, or furnishing of heat, cold, power, electricity, light, or water for public use. Public use means that everyone has a right to use the service on the same terms.
A public utility does not include utilities that provide to specific individuals or charge only to cover operating expenses, such as municipal utilities, cooperatives, or mutual water concerns.
Public utilities are regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and must follow ICC customer service rules. Check with the ICC if you are not sure whether or not your utility provider is a public utility.
A public utility company must provide fair and efficient service at a reasonable cost. They must provide service right away without unfair discrimination to anyone who:
- Asks for the public utility
- Is willing to pay for it
- Follows the company's rules
Public utility companies must bill their customers promptly. This usually means sending a monthly bill. If there is a delay in billing for some reason, the bill cannot be sent after 12 months from the service date.