CHICAGO, Dec. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Reacting to public opinion polls it conducted that show Illinois consumers are hungry for lower cable/satellite TV bills, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has released its first-ever guide to help TV viewers cut costs.
Illinois consumers should visit www.CUBCableCenter.com to receive a free copy of CUB's Guide to Cutting Your TV Costs.
The guide includes tips on how consumers can reduce TV bills, and it details the pros and cons of various choices in the market. Those choices include cable, satellite and triple-play bundles, as well as cable alternatives, such as new streaming services for people who want to "cut the cord."
"People don't feel like they have a lot of options when it comes to their monthly TV bills," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. "That's why we've created this guide—to empower Illinois consumers and give them an easy-to-understand checklist of actions they can take to cut their TV costs."
CUB investigated if public polling supported the impromptu comments about cable service it has heard for three decades from consumers who contact the utility watchdog seeking guidance on telecommunications, electric or natural gas issues. In late October and early November, the consumer group conducted a series of Google Consumer Surveys of randomly selected people (25 and older) from every corner of Illinois. Each question was asked independently and had at least 1,000 respondents among people surfing the Internet to read online content. The survey results were statistically significant, with a margin of error no greater than +/-3.1 percent.
One survey found that 75 percent of respondents with pay-TV service said their bills were too high. Expensive bills appear to be a chief factor in a migration away from traditional pay TV. Another survey found that 76.6 percent of customers who have "cut the cord" said they left their cable/satellite company because of high bills.
Illinois consumers also showed strong support for a series of reforms in the industry that would amount to a "Cable Customer's Bill of Rights." The following are the reforms and the percentage of respondents who supported them.
- Requiring pay-TV companies to offer a basic, low-cost package that any customer could choose: 70.8 percent.
- Requiring reforms aimed at reducing excessive cable box fees: 71.4 percent.
- Requiring pay-TV companies to offer a-la-carte programming (only paying for the channels you use): 71.1 percent.
- Requiring pay-TV companies to offer a low-cost plan for senior citizens: 69.8 percent.
- Requiring pay-TV companies to allow customers to cancel service online, without having to call: 68.7 percent.
"It's obvious Illinois consumers are hungry for changes in the pay-TV industry, but reforms usually don't come quickly," Kolata said. "CUB's guide focuses on what consumers can do today to help reduce their bills."
CUB's Guide to Cutting Your TV Costs is free, at www.CUBCableCenter.com.
CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, it has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline, 1-800-669-5556, or visit its award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
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SOURCE Citizens Utility Board