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ICC report: Northern Illinoisans losing money with alternative electric suppliers

By Sagar Dommaraju

Northern Illinois consumers with alternative electricity suppliers have lost $188.6 million over the last two years, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) in an  annual electric competition report.

The ICC’s Office of Retail Market Development said in its annual report that Illinois consumers with another supplier lost $73.4 million from June 2014 through May of 2015, and another $115.2 million the following year.

The market wasn’t always like this. From 2011 to 2014, the report shows, customers saved more than $320 million with alternative suppliers—largely because ComEd was locked into higher priced electricity contracts for most of that period. Once those contracts expired in June of 2013, it became more difficult for competitors to beat ComEd’s price.

The moral of the story is: The market has changed. Make sure you’re not signing up for a bad deal!

CUB is working closely with the ICC to pass stronger consumer protections for electric shoppers. Meanwhile, follow CUB’s tips to help you protect yourself.

First, keep an eye out for red flags: Exorbitant rates, low introductory rates that disappear, extra fees, and punishing exit fees. Second, don’t give out your utility bill or account number to just anybody who asks for it. If you do, a less than honest sales rep could sign you up for an electric deal–even if you don’t want to sign up.

Finally, if you’re not sure about an offer, consult our electricity shopping guides for ComEd and Ameren customers. If you still have questions after reading the guides, call CUB (1-800-669-5556).