Category: Distributed Generation Marketing & Consumer Protection

Revised DG Marketing Guidelines Reminder – Grace Period Ends October 31st

The revised Adjustable Block Program Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines were published on September 16, 2020. These revised guidelines apply to all distributed generation sales and marketing activity from that date forward. Approved Vendors and those operating on their behalf are expected to be familiar with all changes and adhere to all requirements outlined in the revised guidelines.

As a reminder, there is a grace period of 45 calendar days from September 16, 2020 before disciplinary action is taken for violations of new, non-emergency requirements found in the revised guidelines. This grace period will end on October 31, 2020. This grace period only applies to items that have changed from the original DG Marketing Guidelines to the revised DG Marketing Guidelines.

Emergency restrictions against door-to-door marketing enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic remain in effect, as described in the IPA’s recent update on October 7, 2020. As updates to this prohibition are being made on an ongoing basis, Approved Vendors and their Designees should monitor the Updates section of the ABP website for any changes.

Release of Revised ABP Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines

The revised Adjustable Block Program Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines are now finalized and posted here along with a redline document that compares the changes between the original version published on January 31, 2019 and this revised version.*

These revised guidelines apply to all distributed generation sales and marketing activity moving forward. Approved Vendors and those operating on their behalf are expected to be familiar with the updates made in this new version of the marketing guidelines and adhere to all requirements outlined in the document. Consistent with the ICC’s Order in Docket No. 19-0995, there will be a grace period of 45 calendar days from September 16, 2020 before any disciplinary action is taken for violations of new requirements found in these guidelines.

The revision of the ABP Community Solar Marketing Guidelines is still in process and is anticipated to be finalized in September 2020.  Please note that there will be significant differences between the Distributed Generation and the Community Solar Marketing Guidelines; Approved Vendors thus should not use the revised Distributed Generation Marketing Guidelines as indicative of pending changes for community solar.

Please reach out to the Program Administrator at admin@illinoisabp.com or (877) 783-1820 with any questions.

*Please note that the changes reflected in the redline comparison may seem far more extensive than the actual changes as there was a significant amount of reorganization of text between this version of the document and the January 31, 2019 version.

Stakeholder Comments on Marketing Guidelines, Community Solar Disclosure Form, and Application Batching Process

The Illinois Power Agency published three requests for stakeholder feedback in April 2020. The requests for comment regarding both the Marketing Guidelines and Community Solar Disclosure Form were announced on April 3, 2020 and due on April 28, 2020. The request for comments regarding the Adjustable Block Program Application Batching Process was published on April 15, 2020 and due on April 29, 2020.
You can view the stakeholder comments for both the Marketing Guidelines and Community Solar Disclosure Form, and for the Adjustable Block Program Application Batching Process below.

The Adjustable Block Program Administrator would like to thank all stakeholders that provided comments on the recent requests for comment about the Adjustable Block Program Marketing Guidelines, Community Solar Disclosure Form, and Application Batching Process.

Stakeholder Comments – Marketing Guidelines and Community Solar Disclosure Form

On April 3, the IPA published a request for feedback regarding the Illinois Adjustable Block Program Distributed Generation and Community Solar Marketing Guidelines, and the Community Solar Disclosure Form.

Comments were due Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 5 PM Central Daylight Time. The comments submitted are linked below.

The Adjustable Block Program Administrator would like to thank all stakeholders that provided comments on the recent request for comments about the Adjustable Block Program Marketing Guidelines and Community Solar Disclosure Form.

Request for Comments – Draft Marketing Guidelines and Community Solar Disclosure Form

The IPA is seeking public comments on the Adjustable Block Program Draft Marketing Guidelines (Distributed Generation and Community Solar), as well as the Adjustable Block Program Community Solar Disclosure Form. The request for comment announcements, as well as the relevant documents for review can all be found at this link.

The IPA is seeking feedback on edits that include provisions on the HEAT Act (Public Act 101-0590), as well as other changes to both the Distributed Generation and Community Solar Marketing Guidelines.

The IPA is seeking feedback on the Community Solar Disclosure Form as it relates to subscriber acquisition processes.

Stakeholder feedback is due no later than Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM CST. Please send your comments and/or questions to IPA.Solar@illinois.gov.

 

Consumer Complaint Database posted

The Program Administrator announces that a Database of Consumer Complaints is now available on the Adjustable Block Program and Illinois Shines websites. The database provides a summary of complaints received by the programs and the status of their resolution. This report complements the previously released Disciplinary Actions Report and will be updated when changes occur to ensure that the information is up to date and serves as a reliable resource.

In addition, the Illinois Power Agency has filed the 2019 Consumer Complaints Report with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The report describes in more detail 28 complaints received by the Program Administrator between November 2018 and December 2019 as well as three disciplinary actions taken during that period. These complaints represent a very small portion of the over 11,000 project applications received.

In developing the Database and Report, the Illinois Power Agency and the Program Administrator have sought to balance respecting the privacy of complainants and the benefits of having transparent information that can be valuable to other consumers who may be seeking an Approved Vendor/Designee to work with. The Database and Report do not contain any personally identifying information regarding the complainant. (Background on stakeholder feedback on this topic can be found here.)

To be considered a consumer complaint, a complaint generally will need to come directly from the impacted consumer. However, the Program Administrator maintains the discretion to publish information on a complaint received from an ABP Approved Vendor/Designee or a third-party if the complaint provides information that would be valuable to other parties. Generally, complaints from an ABP Approved Vendor/Designee should be directed to the Program Administrator and will be addressed within the scope of the Program.

Change to customer e-mail requirement on ABP Disclosure Forms

The Illinois Power Agency has decided to implement a change related to the inclusion of customer e-mail addresses on Adjustable Block Program Disclosure Forms. This is in response to a request made by an Approved Vendor. The requirement to include a customer e-mail address on Adjustable Block Program Disclosure Forms may be waived subject to the condition that a Disclosure Form submitted to the Program without a customer e-mail address must be accompanied by a signed standard waiver. The waiver must be executed by the customer verifying that the customer does not have an e-mail address. This waiver confirming that the customer does not have an e-mail address will need to be signed by the customer with a wet signature to be considered acceptable by the Program Administrator.

Prior to allowing Disclosure Forms to be submitted without an e-mail address, the standard waiver will be developed by the Program Administrator and programing changes made to the Disclosure Form API. Therefore, this option will not be available to Approved Vendors immediately. The Program Administrator will publish an announcement to Approved Vendors once the waiver is finalized and ready for use by Approved Vendors.

Disciplinary Actions Report

The Program Administrator has created a new public report of disciplinary actions involving Approved Vendors/Designees that have been found to have violated Program guidelines. This public report has been developed in the interests of fairness, transparency, and awareness to help ensure that all Approved Vendors/Designees are aware of disciplinary decisions, and thus do not unknowingly partner with Approved Vendors/Designees that are suspended from the Program. The report is also designed to provide information to potential project hosts, installers, and other interested parties.
The report will include the following information regarding each disciplinary decision:
  • Approved Vendor/Designee Name
  • Approved Vendor or Designee?
  • Reason for Suspension
  • Suspension Status
  • Date of Suspension Decision and Effective Start Date of Suspension
  • Date Suspension Concludes
  • Length of Suspension
  • Appeal Submitted?
  • Date of Appeal Receipt
  • Status of Appeal
  • Appeal Determination
  • Date of Appeal Determination
  • Other Information
This report will be updated on a weekly basis to ensure that the information is up to date and serves as a reliable resource. It is the responsibility of Approved Vendors/Designees to remain informed of this information as the Program Administrator will not send out specific communications each time that an addition or other change is made to the report. For violations or disciplinary decisions that are egregious and outside the norm, or when other circumstances warrant it, the Program Administrator may provide extra communication to Approved Vendors regarding the decision. Please contact the Program Administrator at admin@illinoisabp.com or  (877) 783-1820 with any questions on this process.