Illinois Attorney General Logo

Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

Illinois Attorney General Logo


May 09, 2024

Lawsuit Against Southeast Energy Consultants LLC is the Latest Action to Crack Down on Deceptive Conduct by the ARES Industry

Chicago Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced his office filed a lawsuit against Southeast Energy Consultants LLC (SEC), alleging the third-party vendor working on behalf of several alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES) deceived customers into switching from their public utility companies to more expensive contracts with alternative energy suppliers.

Raoul’s lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges SEC marketed ARES’ services by claiming consumers would save money on their electric bills by switching, resulting in Illinois residents being defrauded into inadvertently purchasing high-cost electricity supply services.

“Thousands of Illinoisans were contacted by SEC with promises of lower electricity rates and overall cost savings on their energy bills. In reality, consumers ended up paying more in energy costs than if they had stayed with their public utility company,” Raoul said. “My office is committed to protecting Illinois consumers from deceptive practices utilized by alternative retail electric suppliers and their vendors, and preventing consumers from overpaying for the energy they need.”

According to Raoul’s office, SEC is a third-party vendor based in Florida that has contracted with ARES for more than 10 years, providing telemarketing services targeting Illinois consumers. In addition to defrauding Illinois consumers with promises of savings, Raoul’s lawsuit also alleges SEC made numerous false statements to mislead consumers to believe its agents were affiliated with local public utility companies who were calling to enroll them in an official state-sponsored program that would provide cost savings.

Attorney General Raoul’s lawsuit seeks to stop SEC’s illegal conduct and recover the hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased costs Illinois consumers have paid as a result. Raoul’s suit also seeks penalties, including $50,000 for each statutory violation committed against an older Illinois resident.

Attorney General Raoul’s lawsuit against SEC is the latest action he has taken to protect Illinois residents from deceptive practices by ARES. In 2023, Raoul sued Residents Energy LLC over allegations the company’s telemarketers and in-person sales agents used deceptive and unfair tactics to switch customers from their public utility companies to more expensive contracts with Residents. In 2020, Raoul’s office filed a lawsuit against Liberty Power Holdings LLC alleging the company deceived tens of thousands of Illinois residents into signing contracts based on false promises Liberty would save them money on their electricity bills. The Attorney General’s office previously settled lawsuits with, or investigations into Major Energy Electric Services LLC, Eligo Energy IL LLC,  Realgy LLC, Atlantic Energy MD LLC, Palmco Power IL LLC, IDT Energy INC., Sperian Energy Corp., and Mega Energy of Illinois. The Attorney General’s office is pursuing investigations into other ARES.

Attorney General Raoul also initiated the Home Energy Affordability and Transparency (HEAT) Act, which strengthens the oversight of alternative energy suppliers and protects consumers from bad supplier contracts. The HEAT Act went into effect Jan. 1, 2020 and gave the Attorney General’s office even stronger tools to shut down suppliers that engage in fraudulent and misleading conduct, and return money to consumers who have been harmed.

Consumer Protection Division Chief Susan Ellis, Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Thomas Verticchio, and Public Interest Counsel Darren Kinkead are handling the case for Raoul’s office. Illinois-based law firms Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd., Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C., and Edelson PC are also assisting with the case.