What are my choices?
In northern Illinois, you can choose Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), the regulated utility, to supply you with power, or go with an alternative supplier chosen by you or your municipality. This guide covers individual electricity offers. (See CUB’s fact sheet for information on municipal aggregation.)
Remember, even if you choose an alternative supplier, you’re simply buying electricity from that company. ComEd will still bill you to deliver the electricity to your home, and you’ll still call the utility in the event of a power outage.
If you’re having trouble trying to decide the best electric deal, visit the CUB Power Calculator for help.
Do I get a single bill?
Most suppliers include their charges on your ComEd bill, but some send you their own bill. It’s a good detail to check.
Will going with an alternative supplier protect me from ComEd rate hikes?
No, ComEd will still bill you to deliver the electricity to your home. Those delivery rates are what ComEd increases when it gets a rate hike before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). (Help CUB battle rate hikes!)
What happens when my contract ends?
When your contract is up (or you cancel), you can switch to another supplier at any time, but the switching process can take up to two months.
How do the green energy options work?
Some alternative suppliers offer green plans, which typically have a higher price than more standard offers. With green plans, the supplier pledges to buy “renewable energy certificates,” or RECs, from a company that produces power from renewable sources, such as wind. Basically, that company delivers an amount of renewable energy to somewhere in the electricity system that is equal to the amount you consume. So remember, enrolling in a green energy plan does not mean that the actual power you use is coming from renewable sources.
RECs are a legitimate option for consumers, but there are other ways to help the environment without paying extra—such as practicing energy efficiency at home (see below). Also CUB sees Illinois’ renewable portfolio standard, requiring utilities to use a certain percentage of renewable energy, as a much more effective way to make the electricity system cleaner and more stable.
What else can I do to cut my electric bill and make my home more efficient?
Our free online service, CUBEnergySaver.com, is filled with tips on how to cut energy costs, tracks real savings on ComEd bills, and rewards consumers who save energy with shopping and restaurant gift cards.
What details should I look for in the fine print?
1. If the price is an introductory rate that changes in a month or two.
2. If the company charges an exit fee for getting out of the deal before the term is up.
3. If the company charges a monthly fee that will inflate its advertised price.
4. If a contract clause allows the company to get out of the rate it has promised.
5. If the company charges a deposit.
6. If you’re eligible to sign up for the company’s offer. One company, for example, did not allow LIHEAP customers and those on deferred payment plans to take advantage of its offers. Warning: Customers using electricity as their primary source of heat as well as customers on ComEd’s Hourly Pricing
pay a special rate for power. Verify if you’re on a special utility rate, so you can do an apples-to-apples comparison with the rate an alternative supplier is offering.
What are the offers?
Compare the prices below with ComEd’s 6.2 cents per kWh rate from June-September 2016, and 6.319 cents per kWh rate from Oct. 2016-May 2017.
*This is a snapshot of plans. The rates and details of offers can change. Beware that plans may change drastically after the initial term. Rates only reflect the price of the power itself. The ComEd price includes the “Electricity Supply Charge” and the “Transmission Services Charge” (1.264 cents), both under the “Supply” section of ComEd bills. The Purchased Electricity Adjustment (PEA), which changes monthly and can be a credit or a debit, is not included in ComEd’s price to compare. It can add up to 0.5 cents per kWh to ComEd’s rate.