Consumer Alert: CUB Releases Special One-Page Primer, Sparked By Reports Of Confusion, Scams In Electric Market

May 04, 2012, 11:15 ET from Citizens Utility Board

CHICAGO, May 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Responding to reports of customer confusion and potential power scams, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) on Friday released a one-page primer on what the electric choices are for consumers in hundreds of communities that have passed "municipal aggregation" referendums and are beginning to negotiate electricity prices on behalf of their residents.  

CUB's primer — "What are my electricity choices?" — can be found at It is designed to give consumers a two-minute overview of Illinois' suddenly complicated electricity market so they can avoid bad deals. For decades, residents didn't have a choice for their electric supplier. But in the last two years alternative companies have flooded the market.

Adding to the complexity, on March 20, more than 240 Illinois communities passed referendums allowing local governments to negotiate residential prices with certain Commonwealth Edison competitors.

Now, those communities have reported a surge in consumer questions and complaints regarding door-to-door, phone and mail solicitations from energy suppliers. As communities finalize "municipal aggregation" contracts on behalf of residents, the window for alternative electricity suppliers to sign up individual customers in those communities is closing. That could be fertile ground for high-pressure sales tactics and consumer confusion, CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. 

 "Like no other time in the history of Illinois' electricity market, consumers need education to avoid bad deals," Kolata said. "If you have any questions about an offer, check with CUB and community leaders before signing up."

CUB is Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has helped save consumers more than $10 billion by blocking rate hikes and securing refunds. For more information, call CUB's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556, or visit

SOURCE Citizens Utility Board