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Teacher says CUB website invaluable in battling alternative supplier ‘scamsters’


Carolyn helps teach English as a second language–but her lessons have gone far beyond grammar.

One day a student mentioned to the Champaign-area teacher that her utility bills had gone through the roof. What Carolyn uncovered was a problem all too common for Illinois consumers.

A salesman from an alternative electric supplier had gone door to door at the student’s mobile home park and had signed up the student and many of her neighbors. The student said she had only given out her name (no bill), and hadn’t given permission to switch suppliers.

CUB has warned Illinois consumers that people have lost more than $1 billion to alternative electric suppliers since 2015. In this case, the alternative supplier “deal,” which the student was signed up for in 2019, had made her bills “outlandishly high”–nearly $400 for a mobile home, in the winter months.

Carolyn, with the assistance of the City of Champaign, helped her student switch to her town’s municipal electric aggregation program, a better deal, and has continued to use CUB’s online resources to educate others about the dangers of “scamsters” in the energy market.

“This company took advantage of vulnerable people with limited English and low incomes who didn’t understand,” Carolyn wrote to CUB. “I’ve been helping her and others with their electric supply choices. [The CUB] website has been invaluable to me as I teach about these options.”

Our website has many consumer education resources available:
English: CitizensUtilityBoard.org
Spanish: CitizensUtilityBoard.org/Espanol

After visiting CUB’s website, if you still have questions about utility service or alternative suppliers, please reach out to CUB’s Consumer Hotline, at 1-800-669-5556.