If you are getting phone calls this month from electric companies you’ve never heard of, you’re not alone. In 2007, the state of Illinois allowed companies to compete with ComEd. In 2010, the state of Illinois passed legislation that allows municipalities to negotiate special rates with electric providers for their residents. Electricity is still delivered by ComEd, but you can actually purchase the power from someone else. Municipalities negotiate with alternate power companies to gain discounts for their residents.
Last May, Elmhurst chose Constellation as the electricity supplier for the city’s Electricity Aggregation Program. The agreement is for a rate of 7.51 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) compared to the 7.596 cents per kWh Com Ed is charging for the summer of 2014. Residents still pay ComEd for delivery and they collect all applicable taxes and other charges. In most cases, the ComEd bill also includes the charges for electricity, which is then remitted to Constellation.
Here’s a summary of the agreement the city of Elmhurst made with Constellation. (Please note that the city does not receive any fees from this agreement.)
- A fixed price of 7.51 cents per kilowatt-hour from September 2014 through August, 2017.
- Cleaner power (14% coal versus the current 44% coal) and Constellation will offset with Green e-certified Renewable Energy Certificates.
- The possibility of increasing renewable energy offsets to 100%.
- Customers can opt out of the program now, or at any time in the contract, without early termination fees.
An Elmhurst residential customer who uses 900 kWh per month may save $30 to $35 annually over the current ComEd rates for the electricity supplied portion of their bill. Again, the agreement does not impact the electricity delivery charges assessed by ComEd. Electricity rate increases are significant this year due to the low rates the city negotiated in the previous contract and because the extreme weather of last winter caused wholesale electricity prices to increase. Rates are also rising due to charges in capacity charges, which are in place to ensure there is adequate electricity available to meet demand, especially on those hot summer days.
Elmhurst residents received a notice with a form to opt out of the program around the middle of June. If a resident wants to participate in the program, they don’t need to do anything. If a resident wants to opt out, they can return the opt-out form in the pre-addressed envelope enclosed with the form, fax the form to 1-866-422-6233, call Contsellation directly at 1-800-718-1493 or visit their website.
The program should start in August. ComEd will continue to deliver the electricity and is responsible for service issues. Customers participating in Elmhurst’s Electricity Aggregation Program will receive a single bill from ComEd. Residents who had prior agreements with alternate electricity providers did not receive opt-out notices because they were sorted out of the original list of ComEd customers. To join the program or ask questions, call Constellation at 1-800-718-1493 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, or visit their website.
Residents who want to review their options can visit the Illinois Comissions web site.