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Alternative suppliers

The alternative supplier said what????

A former CUB co-worker relayed this bizarre, fraudulent phone pitch he received from an alternative supplier–we’ll call the company “ACME IL Electricity.” This is a good example of the kinds of reports we get every week from Illinois consumers. My notes are in red. Alternative Supplier: “I’m calling from (ACME IL…...

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CUB’s guide to avoiding bad gas deals

Gas customers in Illinois have the option of choosing an unregulated alternative gas company instead of the regulated utility for their gas supply.  Making the right choice, however, can be hard work!  And now that utility heating prices are at their lowest in nearly 15 years, it is more important than…...

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Beware bad gas deals

With federal predictions that we could pay the lowest winter heating bills in more than a decade, be careful to avoid bad gas deals peddled by alternative suppliers. For roughly 15 years, Northern Illinois consumers have been able to choose another company to supply their natural gas–other than the regulated utilities, North…...

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CUB proposal: Videotape door-to-door power pitches

Today, we issued a consumer alert urging people to sign CUB’s petition asking the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) to require electricity suppliers to videotape their door-to-door electricity pitches. Such a proposal is probably a first in the nation, and the alternative electricity suppliers (of course) are fighting it tooth and nail. This is the latest development in…...

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Gas Market Monitor: 9/10 alternative supplier offers have been money-losers

CUB’s free online tool, the Gas Market Monitor, has some startling findings about Northern Illinois’ natural gas market: 9 of 10 plans offered by unregulated suppliers have been money-losers since 2003. CUB announced the numbers in a news conference today to give Northern Illinois households a warning as they prepare for another long…...

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Nicor customers beware: Top 3 highest gas prices

This month, Nicor Gas customers–and their checkbooks—were happy to see the regulated utility’s price plunge 27 percent compared to its rate last October. But beware that some alternative gas suppliers are still offering plans that are almost double Nicor’s current rate. Protect yourself from bad deals by taking a quick look at…...

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Here’s why it pays to read the fine print

By Samantha Vercellino Richard Carlson is more than conscious of his home energy use. The Chicago resident, who owns a studio apartment, takes care in turning off the lights before work and using his air conditioner only on the hottest days. It is because of his commitment to being energy…...

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Which power suppliers are earning the most complaints?

Shopping for electricity suppliers can be a minefield. Illinois consumers need helpful tools to avoid confusing offers, bad deals, misleading marketing, and high-pressure sales tactics. Fortunately, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) publishes an excellent resource: the Retailer Electric Supplier Scorecard. The scorecard reveals which suppliers are earning the highest and lowest complaint rates…...

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So what the heck is a green plan?

Crain’s Chicago Business has shined a spotlight on a “green” plan offered by Ethical Electric, which has been CUB’s biggest source of questions this year among dozens of alternative electric and gas suppliers. A direct mail piece by Ethical is short on detail on the plan’s actual cost, and how it…...

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Julie’s report: Big ICC developments against bad power marketing

Today, CUB sent out an alert from Litigation Director Julie Soderna about two big developments in the battle to clean up Illinois’ competitive electricity market. The consumer watchdog is asking everyone to send a message to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), urging regulators: Don’t stop now! Here’s what’s happened…. Sperian…...

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