My name is Steve, and one way I give back to my community is as a CUB member and volunteer.
I’m proud of the work we’ve done this year—and one of my favorite moments is when I saved two customers from paying for an outrageous gas rip-off.
So far, I’ve volunteered at about 10 utility-bill clinics—those are free events CUB holds to catch hidden fees and overcharges, and suggest other ways to save on electric, gas and phone bills. (Find a utility bill clinic near you.)
It feels good to help someone save money. We all have tight budgets, so even saving $5 a month is nice. But last month at the Park Ridge Public Library I was happy to save two people from overpaying by hundreds of dollars on their gas bills.
They were on the hook for $1.35 and $1.43 per therm, respectively, with Spark Energy, an unregulated natural gas supplier. If that doesn’t sound high, consider that over the last three months, the regulated utility, Nicor Gas, has been charging just 33 cents per therm.
So these poor consumers were paying quadruple—and they were in for one expensive winter if we hadn’t stepped in. (A typical homeowner can easily use about 1,000 therms of natural gas each winter, so my recommendation to return to Nicor Gas could save them each more than $1,000.)
Little did I know how fulfilling it would be to volunteer at CUB—it all began because I was just looking for a way to stay out of trouble after I retired! I want to thank CUB staff and all of CUB’s supporters for making the volunteer team possible.
You don’t need a deep knowledge of utilities to make a difference for your fellow Illinois residents. CUB welcomes volunteers to help with a variety of tasks, such as sorting petitions against rate hikes at the CUB office. Please join us for even a few hours a month.
Thanks for reading, and happy holidays.