CHICAGO, July 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has unveiled a free calculator to help residents determine how to save the most money in the Illinois electric market.
The CUB Power Calculator, at www.CUBPowerCalculator.com, is designed to help residents learn what they would pay with an alternative electric supplier versus the regulated utility, Commonwealth Edison or Ameren Illinois.
"Illinois electric customers need to be savvy shoppers," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. "CUB wants to help Illinois families avoid rip-offs and choose the right electric option for their household."
The calculator serves consumers living in both ComEd and Ameren territories. In a few steps, the tool allows users to type in the alternative supply rate they wish to compare to the utility's price, any extra monthly fees charged by the supplier, and their estimated monthly electricity usage for the summer (June through September 2015).
The calculator will then determine what the user would spend with the alternative supplier offer versus ComEd or Ameren. (The tool, for now, only calculates summer months since utility supply rates are not known beyond September 2015. CUB will update the calculator when it learns of the new prices.)
Illinoisans can stay with the utility for their supply rate and are under no obligation to switch to another supplier. Shoppers evaluating an alternative supplier deal should use CUB's calculator and ask these questions:
- Is the advertised price a variable rate that will change monthly, or a rate that is fixed for a certain period?
- Is the alternative supplier price an introductory rate that could skyrocket after a few months?
- Does the offer force me to pay an exit fee if I want to get out of the contract? (Just this year, CUB successfully pushed for a new law that caps electric exit fees at $50 for offers going forward.)
Shoppers also should know that it can take up to two months to switch to an alternative supplier, so a deal that looks good now may not be in the future. Plus, consumers should not give out their electric bill or account number unless they are sure they want to switch. That's an invitation for an unethical marketer to switch a customer to an alternative supplier without his or her consent.
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.
SOURCE Citizens Utility Board