Customer Select—Making the Right Choice

How Does it Work?

Traditionally, a utility buys gas on the market and uses its pipelines to deliver fuel to your home. The utility is supposed to sell the gas at the same price it pays, with no markup. Opting for Customer Select means you will still pay Nicor to deliver gas to your home, but you will pay a different company to buy and supply the actual gas. Unlike your utility, the rates and services of your new supplier will not be regulated or reviewed by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

Are There Other Charges?

Yes, and these charges will inflate the advertised price. Some suppliers charge a monthly fee. Also, Nicor Gas charges all program participants a per therm Balancing and Storage Adjustment fee. The charge helps cover “balancing” costs for maintaining appropriate pressure in Nicor’s pipes. (Note: The impact of this charge is lessened by a 2 cents per therm “Transportation Service Credit.”) Also, beware of an “exit” fee if you want to get out of your plan before the term of service ends. Companies may have an “opt-out period” during which a customer can exit without being penalized. Find out when that period begins and ends.

What Gas Consumer Protections Does Illinois Have?

State law mandates that any customer signing up with an unregulated supplier on or after April 10, 2009…

  • Has up to 10 days to cancel a contract once the supplier’s charges first appear on the gas bill without paying a cancellation penalty.
  • Can’t pay a cancellation penalty higher than $50.
  • Must give consent, through a signature and a third-party verification process, before being signed up for a door-to-door offer.
Avoiding Natural Gas Scams 
  • Don’t sign up for any offer on the spot. You may be charged a hefty termination fee if you later want out.
  • Don’t give out your utility account number to any sales representative at your door or over the phone.
  • Don’t sign up for a new supplier until you compare the prices and terms of service with other companies, including your utility.
  • If you’re not interested in switching suppliers, ask your gas utility to put a block on your account, which will prohibit any unauthorized changes to your service.
  • If you don’t want unregulated gas companies to bother you with a sales pitch, get on your utility’s do-not-market list. Nicor customers should call 1-888-642-6748.

Should I Participate in "Customer Select"?

There’s no guarantee you’ll save money. In fact, CUB’s Gas Market Monitor shows that consumers are much more likely to lose money with unregulated gas companies. Remember, Customer Select is optional. If you don’t sign up, you will continue to be served by Nicor Gas, with rates regulated by the ICC. If you find Customer Select too confusing or too risky, you’re not alone.

What Are The Offers?

Compare the prices below with Nicor Gas’ current 41¢ per therm variable rate.

* This is a snapshot of plans being offered. The rates and details of these offers can change often, even daily. Beware that plans may change drastically after the initial term. Customer Select participants pay an additional 2.07¢ per therm “Balancing and Storage Adjustment” and receive a 2.11¢ per therm “Transportation Service Credit,” which vary monthly. Call a company to verify a rate, to get a plan in writing, and to find out what happens to that plan after the initial term. The rates only reflect the price of natural gas. Nicor Gas will continue to bill you for the cost of delivering gas to your home.

Prices as of February 15, 2017.

Ambit Energy

1-877-282-6248
www.ambitenergy.com

Offer(s)

  1. 40.467¢ per therm monthly variable rate 1% Guaranteed Savings rate. (New Customers get a 5% discount for the first two months, and then get the 1% discount rate. Customers who don’t renew the above plan after a year get put on a “roll-off” rate, which is 71.75¢ per therm this month.)

Cancellation fee — No

Monthly fee — No

Constellation Energy Services

1-877-377-7297
http://www.constellation.com

Offer(s)

  1. 43.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate.
  2. 44.9¢ per therm 18-months fixed rate.

Cancellation fee — $50 (10-day opt-out period after you receive your first bill).

Monthly fee— None

Corn Belt Energy Corp.

1-866-806-3411
http://www.cornbeltenergy.com

Offer(s)

  1. 35¢ per therm “Winter Protection Plan” variable rate.
  2. 42¢ per therm “Market-Advantage Plan” variable rate.

Cancellation fee — None

Monthly fee— None

Direct Energy

1-866-910-3401
www.directenergy.com

Offer(s)

  1. 45.9¢ per therm 12-month fixed rate.
  2. 45.9¢ per therm 18-month fixed rate. (44.9¢ per therm for military [Web Only]).
  3. 54.9¢ per therm 27-month fixed rate with Nest Thermostat.

Cancellation fee —$200 for plan w/ Nest Thermostat.

Monthly fee — None

IGS Energy

1-888-995-0992
www.igsenergy.com

Offer(s)

  1. 45.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate.
  2. 40.9¢ per therm 1- year fixed rate.
  3. 40.9¢ per therm 18-month fixed rate.

Cancellation fee — $50 (for plans 2 and 3.)

Monthly fee — None

Just Energy

1-866-587-8674
www.justenergy.com

Offer(s)

  1. 53.9¢ per therm 3 or 5-year fixed rate (20% “green energy” option).
  2. 55.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate (20% “green energy” option).

Cancellation fee — $50 (10-day opt-out period after you receive your first bill.)

Monthly fee — None

Nicor Advanced Energy

1-866-369-0911
www.nicoradvancedenergy.com

Offer(s)

  1. Lock 12: CUB has yet to find any customers who have saved money under Lock 12, which charges a set monthly bill for a year based on a formula known only by the company. Because the offer partly depends upon usage history, the cost varies by customer. There is a $50 fee if you cancel after 10 days of receiving your first bill. See CUB’s fact sheet, Nicor’s “Lock 12” Plans.
  2. PriceGuard: 49.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate. It’s not exactly clear how the fixed price is determined. It is based on “several factors such as the current price of natural gas and other program costs.” There is a $50 fee if you cancel after 10 days of receiving your first bill.
  3. 50.1¢ per therm variable rate. No cancelation fee.
  4. Flex: Unlike most variable plans, which change on a monthly basis, this one changes daily, based on a market index price called the Gas Daily Daily (GDD). The company takes your total monthly usage and estimates how much you used each day based on a “typical” profile of residences in your area and actual weather. The daily usage is multiplied by the GDD (PLUS a “set cost per therm”), for each day of the billing period to come up with a total billing amount. There is no cancellation fee.
  5. TruBalance: A 50-50 combination of a variable price per therm and a fixed price per therm. Half of your usage is based on a variable price that moves up and down with the market price weekly. The other half of the usage is based on a fixed rate determined on the day you sign up for the program and remains unchanged for a year. There is a $50 fee if you cancel after 10 days of receiving your first bill.

NOTE: Given the structure of most of these these plans, it’s impossible to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison with the rate offered by Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, the utilities. Nicor Advanced Energy acknowledges you “may or may not save money” compared to the regulated Peoples/North Shore rates.

Nordic Energy Services

1-877-808-1022
www.nordicenergy-us.com

Offer(s)
1. 39.10¢ per therm variable rate. (It’s a monthly market index price plus about 5-6 cents per therm.)

Cancellation fee — No

Monthly Fee — No

NRG

1-855-674-7697
www.nrghomepower.com

Offer(s)

  1. 33¢ per therm variable rate. (3-month introductory rate)
  2. 37¢ per therm variable rate. (3-month introductory rate)
  3. 43¢ per therm variable rate. (3-month introductory rate)

Cancellation fee — No

Monthly fee — No

Realgy Energy Services

1-877-300-6747
www.realgyenergyservices.com

Offer(s)
1. 41.0¢ per therm 24-month variable rate.

Cancellation fee — $50

Monthly fee — $2.50

Santanna Energy Services

1-800-827-0067
www.santannaenergyservices.com

Offer(s)
1. 40.9¢ per therm 6-month fixed rate.
2. 39.9¢ per therm 12-month fixed rate.

Cancellation fee — $50

Monthly fee — $7.99

Spark Energy

1-877-228-9427
www.sparkenergy.com

Offer(s)
1. 44.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate.
2. 52.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate.
3. 47.5¢ per therm 2-year fixed rate.

Cancellation fee — $50 for first plan.

Monthly fee — $4.95 for first plan.

Viridian

1-866-663-2508
www.viridian.com

Offer(s)
1. 4885¢ per therm 3-year fixed rate, 25% renewable.
2. 0.4533¢ per therm for 1-year fixed, 25% renewable.
3. 0.4508¢ per therm for 21 month fixed, 25% renewable
4.0.5524¢ per therm for 1 month, term free, 25% renewable

Cancellation fee — $50 exit fee

Monthly fee — No.

Vista Energy Marketing, LP

1-888-508-4782
www.vistaenergymarketing.com

Offer(s)

  1. 40¢ variable rate.

Cancellation fee — No

Monthly fee — No

Xoom Energy

1-888-997-8979
www.xoomenergy.com

Offer(s)

  1. 46.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate.
  2. 49.9¢ per therm 1-year fixed rate.
  3. 47.9¢ per therm 2-year fixed rate.
  4. 39.9¢ per therm variable rate(3-month promotional rate).

Cancellation fee — $50 for plans 1-2.

Monthly Fee — None