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Now we’ve seen everything…

20140703_extremecouponing_fbAt CUB, we’re a pretty thrifty bunch– after all, we spend our days helping consumers shave money off their bills–but even we think this might be going a little far:

Eligo Energy, an alternative electric supplier serving the Chicagoland area, is offering a Groupon for a $50 discount on electricity. We’ve heard of alternative electric suppliers mailing, phoning and going door-to-door to sell, but this is the first time we’ve seen something like this. (Groupon is a Chicago-based coupon website.)

Like any electricity supply offer, we warn you to proceed with caution to ensure you understand the full conditions of the contract.  The details on the Eligo Groupon are vague, except to say that you must sign a 12-month electrical services agreement through the company.  As of this writing, Eligo’s rates weren’t reported on Plug In Illinois–the Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) official electric choice website–but CUB did a little digging to find the price:

Eligo offers a 5.5 cents per kWh rate for the first six months of the contract and then a variable rate for the remaining six months of the contract.  To cancel early, you must pay $20 per month left on your contract.

As we’ve warned before, variable rates–which change on a monthly basis–can be a risky bet for consumers.  We’ve heard from consumers on variable rate plans who saw their rates balloon to more than six times the rate of the regulated utility (for this reason, CUB recently called on the ICC to investigate these  plans).

While it’s not possible to predict what the rates will be in Eligo’s plan, we urge consumers  to carefully consider their options and read the fine print in any service contracts.  Don’t get lured in by any great “deals”– or Groupons– without knowing the full terms and conditions of the offer.