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Home » Heat, Utilities & Other Essential Services, Landlord & Tenant FAQ, Other FAQ

Alternative Electricity Provider Info

last updated on September 2, 2011 – 12:07 PMno comments

ARES Electricity Deregulation

MULTIFAMILY RENTAL FACT SHEET

Tenant Choices

If tenants receive their own electricity bills, they can make their own decisions about switching to an alternate provider. NOTE: Tenants should ask new providers if they accept LIHEAP.* Blue Star does NOT work with LIHEAP.

Real Time Pricing

Before checking with other ARES providers, you should explore Real Time Pricing (www.thewattspot.com). Many households will pay less with this program.

Tenant and Owner Considerations Before Choosing an Alternate Provider

1.  Consider Real Time Pricing. If you work and are not at home during the day, you will likely save more money with this program. See above for information.

2.  Check if the company is registered with the Illinois Commerce Commission. Check http://www.icc.illinois.gov/utility/list.aspx?type=are

3.  Check the company’s per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate: is it less than 7.921 cents/kilowatt-hour. Right now, Com Ed’s rate is 7.921 cents per kWh. That rate is expected to decrease slightly next year, so if the ARES you are considering has a rate just under 7.921 plus additional fees (see #3 below), you may want to reconsider.

4.  Check for fees, and whether rates are fixed or variable.

Fees: Check for monthly fees, fees for start-up, early termination, etc.

Variable v. fixed rates: If companies charge variable rates, there is no way to know what they will charge month to month.

Contract term: If Com Ed’s rate does decrease in the near term, you do not want to get stuck with a higher rate for several years.

5.  Always check your bill to make sure your provider is the provider of your choice. Sometimes providers switch your bill without your permission.

6.  If your unit or building uses an electric heat system DO NOT SWITCH.  You will get better discounts through Com Ed.  Ask your landlord if you are not sure.

Good resources:

ICC website:    http://www.pluginillinois.org/ , or call the ICC at 1-800-524-0795

CUB website: http://www.citizensutilityboard.org/ciElectric_cubfacts_alternativesuppliers.html , or call CUB at 1-800-669-5556

* LIHEAP clients should also consider the new Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP), which allows LIHEAP clients to pay a percentage of their income, receive a monthly benefit towards their utility bill, and lower their overdue bills for every on-time payment they make by the bill due date.  http://www.ildceo.net/dceo/Bureaus/Energy+Assistance/Illinois+LIHEAP/ .

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