SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Utility companies can start sending out disconnection notices to those who haven’t paid their bill again, starting Thursday.

The state’s ban that prevented disconnections during the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.

For over a year, Illinois banned utility disconnections to help people who were unemployed get through the pandemic.

The moratorium ended on April 1st.

The Illinois Commerce Commission made a deal with the major utilities in the state to delay shutoffs if residents contact them to set up a payment plan.

The agency has set up counseling services to help those who are struggling to navigate the rules.

“We definitely also encourage consumers who want additional help, whether it’s, you know, actually being walked through the process of contacting their utility companies or accessing the LIHEAP funds,” said ICC spokeswoman, Britney Bouie.

The LIHEAP program is also still running in the state. County offices were sent money to give to residents to pay off utility bills with no strings attached.