Consumer Alert: Highest prices in the Illinois electric market

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The Illinois electric market can be confusing (and expensive!) but CUB is here to help.

We reviewed more than 100 individual offers from alternative electric suppliers across Illinois and we want to warn you about the highest prices we found.  Some of these rates about double that of the regulated utility!

In  ComEd territory, the highest prices (as of Jan. 21):

Ambit Energy: 14.65¢/kWh variable rate
Ambit Energy: 13.65¢/kWh variable rate
Starion Energy: 12.99¢/kWh variable rate, $7.95 monthly fee
Viridian: 11.9¢/kWh variable rate
Ethical Electric: 11.6¢/kWh 12-month fixed rate
Viridian: 10.9¢/kWh variable rate
Xoom Energy: 10.79¢/kWh variable rate
Constellation Energy: 9.59¢/kWh 12-month fixed rate
IGS Energy: 9.59¢/kWh 12-month fixed rate
North American Power: 9.54¢/kWh 12-month fixed rate
Tara Energy: 9.39¢/kWh 24-month fixed rate

(See ABC 7 Chicago’s report on our list.)

In  Ameren territory, the highest prices (as of Jan. 21):

Ambit Energy: 11.13¢/kWh variable rate
Viridian: 9.79¢/kWh variable rate
Ambit Energy: 9.13¢/kWh variable rate
Viridian: 8.79¢/kWh variable rate
Clearview Energy: 8.29¢/kWh variable rate
Clearview Energy: 7.99¢/kWh 6-month fixed rate
Ambit Energy: 7.66¢/kWh variable rate
Xoom Energy: 7.49¢/kWh 12-month fixed rate
Viridian: 6.99¢/kWh 36-month fixed
Xoom Energy: 6.99¢/kWh variable rate
Energy.ME: 6.819¢/kWh 24-month fixed rate

Note that the prices listed here are for individual offers, not offers negotiated by Illinois communities through a process called “municipal aggregation.” For a comprehensive list of all the individual offers out there, see our fact sheets for ComEd and Ameren customers. Of course you can find lower rates in the market, including from these companies, but we wanted to show you just how high rates can get–and tell you how to avoid bad deals.

If you’re looking to shop around for an electric supplier, always compare prices to the regulated utility’s rate. ComEd customers are currently paying 7.572¢/kWh.  Ameren customers are paying 4.571¢/kWh in Zone 1, 4.467¢/kWh in Zone 2, and 4.547¢/kWh in Zone 3. Also keep an eye out for these pitfalls:

  • Low introductory rates that disappear: Introductory rates can shoot up after a short period. Ask if the rate is an intro rate, how long it lasts and what the new rate will be.
  • Extra fees: Always ask if there is a monthly fee, and if there is, factor that into the per kWh price.
  • Punishing exit fees: Suppliers may charge exit fees of up to $200 if a customer leaves a plan before the contract is up. Under the law, customers are allowed to leave a contract without paying an exit fee within 10 days after the date of the first bill.
  • High-pressure sales tactics: Beware of people at your door who say they’re from the “electric company.” Don’t give out your account number or power bill to just anybody who asks for it. That person may be trying to sign you up for an offer without your permission.

20140113_CES_BannerThe Illinois electric market can be a gamble when it comes to finding savings.  The only sure-fire way to lower your bills is through energy efficiency.  Join CUB Energy Saver to start building a customized energy-saving plan for your home.  The free tool can potentially save you hundreds on your home energy bills, and offers free rewards for cutting energy use.

Also, please take CUB’s survey (Ameren customers can click here; ComEd customers can click here) to let us know your experience in the Illinois electric market.  Your responses help us provide better information and services for Illinois consumers.

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This entry was posted in Alternative electric/gas suppliers, Ameren, ComEd, CUB, Electric bills, Energy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Consumer Alert: Highest prices in the Illinois electric market

  1. Tad says:

    Good to see the truth coming out about this ambit energy. I knew there was something creepy about their so-called consultants, prancing around saying how much they love helping people save money. As they climb the Pyramid scheme! Taking advantage of the elderly and their own family members. My elderly mother being one of them. After some research I see what a deceptive company they really are. Sad,very sad.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow

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