CUB Analyzes Alternative Electricity Offers in Illinois, Gives Consumers Apples-to-Apples Comparison on Competing Deals

Mar 09, 2011, 12:18 ET from Citizens Utility Board

CHICAGO, March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to an unprecedented advertising blitz by alternative electric companies in northern Illinois, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) said Wednesday that it has released a new fact sheet that gives consumers key information about shopping in the electricity market and allows them to compare competing offers with the price they pay for Commonwealth Edison. 

"Consumers need more than ads and gimmicks to make the right choice in the electricity market, they need objective information," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. "If you are thinking of switching, there are things you should know." 

CUB's fact sheet, "Electric Competition: What You Should Know," can be found on the "Electric" page of the consumer group's award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org

In addition to giving consumers an apples-to-apples comparison of the prices offered by ComEd and competing suppliers, CUB's fact sheet also provides key information that may be surprising to shoppers in the electricity market: 

  • Going with an alternative supplier does not mean you're leaving ComEd completely—and it won't shield you from the company's rate hikes. 
  • Some of the companies charge exit fees—as high as $150—that would cost you plenty if you wanted to get out before your contract is up.
  • Some companies offer slightly higher rates for a "green" option, but that doesn't mean alternative energy is powering your home. 

Companies have been hitting consumers with door-to-door, e-mail, Internet, and mailing campaigns sometimes guaranteeing double-digit percentage savings—at least for the next few months. One company even gave away cupcakes in a promotion in downtown Chicago. 

At least six companies have been marketing in ComEd's territory, ever since a decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) last December made it easier for them to bill for their services through ComEd. Every offer to date has beaten ComEd's current price for electricity. ComEd's price, however, is set to drop in June, so nobody knows how the offers will compare in a few months. 

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 www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.

SOURCE Citizens Utility Board



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