Welcome to CUB's Help Center

CUB created this help center to keep you informed of the consumer group’s information campaigns and other breaking news that matters to your bottom line.

Beware of Bad Alternative Supplier Deals

Be on high alert if someone approaches you with a utility “discount” that’s too good to be true: CUB is constantly getting complaints about alternative electric and gas suppliers using predatory sales tactics. In addition to knocking on your door or calling you on the phone, suppliers also market Illinoisans at grocery stores, airports, even the movie theater.

  • Order a FREE copy of CUB’s Gas & Electric guide. CUB’s new 37-page online guide outlines your rights as an electric and/or gas customer. And there’s a section that shows you how to spot bad alternative supplier deals hiding on your utility bills.
  • Read about the HEAT Act, tough new consumer protections that unanimously passed the Illinois General Assembly this past May.
  • Know the utilities’ “prices to compare”: That’s the price Ameren and ComEd customers should compare with alternative electric supplier offers.

Current Utility Prices:
ComEd: 7.224 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)
Ameren Illinois: 4.715 cents per kWh for the first 800 kWh of usage; 4.476 cents per kWh for usage above 800 kWh
Note: These prices are good through May of 2020.

  • If you shop in the electric and gas markets, follow these tips:

1) Be careful about people at your door who say they’re from the “electric company” or “gas company” and offer to lower your bill. Don’t give out your account number or your bill unless you’re sure you want to sign up for an offer. A dishonest sales rep can use your account number to sign you up for an alternative supplier without permission.

2) Find out what the company is charging and how that compares with the utility’s price. Ask whether the supplier rate is a fixed rate, and for how long, or a variable rate that changes monthly.

3) Ask if the rate is an introductory or promotional rate, how long it lasts, and what the new rate will be once it ends. People complain to CUB that the low price they signed up for disappeared after a few months and their bill skyrocketed.

4) Ask if the plan charges a monthly fee, which will inflate the per-kWh rate. We’ve seen monthly fees as high as $16.

5) Ask if the company charges an exit fee if you want to leave a plan before the contract is up. Exit fees are capped at $50, and you can avoid getting slapped with one if you cancel a contract within 10 days of the supplier’s charges first appearing on the bill.

  • Don’t forget energy efficiency: Shopping in the electricity market is a gamble, but the most reliable way to cut your electric bills is through energy efficiency. Visit our Clean Energy page to read more about money-saving programs available to you.
  • Other helpful information:

“CUB’s Guide to Avoiding Electric Rip-offs,” for ComEd customers

“CUB’s Guide to Avoiding Electric Rip-offs,” for Ameren customers

“CUB’s Guide to Avoiding Gas Rip-offs,” for Nicor customers

“CUB’s Guide to Avoiding Gas Rip-offs,” for Peoples/North Shore Gas customers