ICC APPROVES UTILITIES DELAYED PAYMENT PLAN — The Illinois Commerce Commission on Thursday approved a plan to extend shutoff protections for utilities customers unable to pay the full amount due to financial hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic. The statewide moratorium on utility shutoffs will be extended until 30 days after Illinois enters Phase 4 of Gov. JB Pritzker’s reopening plan — currently slated for June 26 — and will also allow customers to enter into deferred payment agreements or even have their utility debts forgiven. The plan was negotiated between Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Citizens Utility Board, other consumer advocates and the utilities themselves and covers customers of Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Commonwealth Edison, Illinois American Water, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas, Peoples Gas, and Utilities Inc. A separate agreement was entered into for smaller investor-owned utilities in the state. In a statement Thursday, ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez said the company is “committed to doing everything we can to help ease our customers’ financial burden.” [Hannah Meisel]

Related: Illinois Commerce Commission set to approve payment agreements for utility customers facing potential shutoffs
 

ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT — In a 4-3 decision Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a private ambulance company and ambulance driver were not immune from liability for a 2016 traffic accident, as the ambulance was not transporting a patient at the time of the accident. Lifeline Ambulance LLC driver Joshua Nicholas allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Chicago’s Grand Avenue and Lake Shore Drive in March 2016, colliding with the vehicle of Roberto Hernandez, who allegedly sustained a fractured vertebrae and other injuries in the crash. While longstanding caselaw upholds immunity for ambulance drivers under Illinois’ Emergency Medical Services Systems Act, the four Supreme Court justices ruled Thursday that the immunity is only extended when an ambulance is currently transporting a patient in a non-emergency situation. Nicholas’ ambulance collided with Hernandez’s vehicle while Nicholas was on his way to pick up a patient at a dialysis center in suburban Villa Park. Justice P. Scott Neville, Chief Justice Anne Burke and Justice Rita Garman dissented, finding that Nicholas’ driving an empty ambulance was done in the course of performing his job duties, and he should be found immune from liability. [Meisel]