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No joke, hourly electricity prices can actually drop below zero

Most ComEd customers are stuck on the utility’s standard electricity price that only changes twice a year, so it may be hard to believe that the actual market price of electricity can get really low, even, for short periods drop below zero. That’s right, the market price occasionally drops below…...

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“Vampire power” could be to blame for your high electric bill

Turning your electronics off when you’re not using them seems like a simple way to cut down on your power bill. But that won’t stop “standby power,” a.k.a. vampire power. Think about your toaster, coffee maker, televisions, desktop computers and DVRs. You may leave these devices off for periods of time, but…...

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Special Report: Are green plans really green?

A lot of alternative electricity suppliers like to pitch “green plans.” “We make sure all your home’s energy … comes from 100% clean wind and solar power,” proclaims one supplier’s website. But let’s go beyond the marketing pitches. Signing up for a “green” or “renewable energy” plan does NOT mean…...

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Take robocall fight to congress

A thousand Illinoisans signed last week’s petition urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fight robocall scams. Thank you! While we have momentum, we need to hit this issue on multiple fronts. Let’s remind Congress that we’re tired of being bombarded with billions of robocalls, including scams that rob us…...

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Consumer doesn’t give up against bad gas deal, gives big thanks to CUB

Like many Illinois consumers, John Van Hattem had second thoughts after he enrolled with an unregulated gas supplier that came to his door. John called the company—Illinois Gas & Electric—to cancel, only to hear a recorded message saying, “…the issue is with your local gas utility company.” Next, he called…...

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Update: Fight robocall scams

We’ve got bad news about the ongoing battle against annoying telemarketing calls: Just last month U.S. homes were hit with a record number of robocalls: 4.1 billion, according to the call-blocking software firm YouMail. Many are scams: Consumer Reports says robo-fraudsters cost people an estimated $350 million in 2011 alone. In…...

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Robocalls on the rise: tips on stopping phony callers

We asked people on Facebook if they get a lot of robocalls, and boy did we get an earful! “I get an average of 35-40 a week. Insanity!” wrote Kathleen. “I’ve had a zillion on my cellphone, all from different areas of the country, all about buying insurance,” added Susabelle.…...

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Grim statistic: Record losses for supplier customers

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) recently reported that over the past year, customers of alternative electric suppliers lost a record $227.6 million, compared with what they would have paid with the regulated utilities, ComEd or Ameren. The electric market is in need of reform—but energy giants, like Exelon and Vistra,…...

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My Electric Vehicle Acid Test

for Medium.com by David Kolata, CUB’s Executive Director I could say I’m pumped — but that’s not quite right, given that I’ve bypassed the gas station. Maybe ‘juiced’ is a better way to describe how I feel about my first electric vehicle (“EV”), a 2018 Chevy Bolt. The new 2018 Chevy Bolt and…...

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Central AC Cycling or Peak Time Savings?

Peak Time Savings and Central AC Cycling are two ComEd programs that could help you save money–but you have to choose between one or the other. They’re both good programs, but sometimes, consumer ask us which one to choose. We did a deep dive to help you choose the one…...

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