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How the Polar Vortex could still hit you… in June!

Winter may be over, but the pain of the polar vortex may soon show up on your energy bill.

Alternative power supplier FirstEnergy intends to bill customers a one-time June surcharge to recover unexpectedly high costs incurred during the polar vortex, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

Ninety-eight of the 180 communities in ComEd’s territory that have contracted with FirstEnergy through a process called “municipal aggregation” will see the surcharge (under aggregation, alternative suppliers provide only the energy for consumers, and ComEd remains responsible for delivering the power). So far, we know of only one community that will get hit with the surcharge: Rockford.

FirstEnergy is not the only supplier crying “polar vortex.”  Nordic Energy Services has made headlines for its attempt to renegotiate its’ rate with Hinsdale to recover from higher winter costs. And the Chicago Tribune reports today that the supplier has locked horns with CUB over rates that have quadrupled for individual consumers. Again, the company blamed the weather for higher rates–and a billing error.

In addition, the overall market has tightened, and we’re beginning to see headlines that municipal aggregation is not bringing the type of savings it once did: DeKalb electric bills could jump 55 percent.

The FirstEnergy and Nordic pricing kinks signify a troubling trend that CUB is keeping a close eye on.  No doubt, municipal aggregation has brought significant savings for many communities, but it remains to be seen how power suppliers and consumers will weather Illinois’ new market.