Zahn v. North American Power & Gas, LLCAnnotate this Case
Zahn is a residential consumer, decided to purchase electricity from North American Power & Gas (NAPG), an alternative retail electric supplier (ARES) under the Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law , 220 ILCS 5/16-102. NAPG sent Zahn a letter stating that she would receive its “New Customer Rate” of $0.0499 per kilowatt-hour during her first month of service and a “market based variable rate” thereafter. NAPG's “Customer Disclosure Statement” indicated a month-to-month term and that “[o]ther than fixed and/or introductory/promotional rates, all rates shall be calculated in response to market pricing, transportation, profit and other market price factors” and that its prices were “variable” based on “market prices for commodity, transportation, balancing fees, storage charges, [NAPG] fees, profit, [and] line losses ... may be higher or lower than your [local public utility].” Zahn never received the $0.0499 per kilowatt-hour rate. During her first two months of service, NAPG charged her $0.0599 per kilowatt-hour. Thereafter, the rate it charged her was always higher than what she would have paid her local public utility. Zahn filed a class action, alleging Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act violations (815 ILCS 505/1), breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Zahn appealed dismissal of the case to the Seventh Circuit, which certified a question of Illinois law: Does the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) have exclusive jurisdiction over a reparation claim, as defined in precedent in Sheffler v. Commonwealth Edison, brought by a residential consumer against an ARES? The Illinois Supreme Court responded that the ICC does not have exclusive original jurisdiction over such claims. The claims may be pursued through the courts.