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Working for a clean energy future as easy as 1-2-3

CUB Outreach Director Sarah Moskowitz, left, says the outreach team tries to show people the connection between clean energy and saving money.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) staffs more than 400 free events a year—which means just about every day the consumer group is somewhere in Illinois spreading an important message: clean energy = affordable energy.

Jim’s a believer. He’s a frequent visitor to CUB events and recently dropped by our utility-bill clinic in Skokie.  “I show up to these clinics just to let people know that the programs work,” he said.

Jim should know. He’s saved nearly $600 through a ComEd program, called Hourly Pricing, that’s good for the planet and the pocketbook.

“The clinics show people the connection between clean energy and saving money,” said CUB Outreach Director Sarah Moskowitz.

Utility customers love the clinics, because they can sit with a CUB expert who goes over their energy bills line by line and educates them about ways to save. Specifically, CUB checks three things on clinic-goers’ bills.

  1. Are you paying too much with an alternative supplier. Too often, CUB finds people paying ridiculously high rates with alternative gas or electric suppliers. But there are other choices in the electricity market, including “demand response” programs, that can actually save you money–which leads us to No. 2.
  2. Have you heard of “demand response” programs? Demand response programs entice you to shift your power usage to “off-peak” times, when demand and power prices are lower. A good example is the Hourly Pricing program, in which Jim pays an electricity rate that changes by the hour and is often lower than the utility’s standard fixed rate. Not only is it good for your power bills, but also the planet: Reducing peak demand cuts the need to fire up expensive, dirty “peaker” power plants.
  3. Are you using more energy? Did your electricity or gas usage spike because of weather or extra house guests?

    CUB Consumer Advocacy Director Sandra Marcelin-Reme talks to consumers at a past utility-bill clinic in Skokie.

    That’s an opportunity to talk about great clean energy programs available to Illinois consumers. Most clinic participants can take advantage of a free Home Energy Assessment in which a technician will install energy-saving household items, such as LEDs, showerheads and even a programmable thermostat.

No doubt, there’s a lot of work left to do to secure an affordable clean energy future in Illinois. But it’s nice to know savings on our individual utility bills can be as easy as 1, 2 and 3. Visit CUB’s “Clean Energy” page, at CitizensUtilityBoard.org, to see a full menu of clean energy programs that help you cut your bills.