There's a new tool to compare electricity rates between alternative and major suppliers in Illinois. In anticipation of a big marketing push from alternative suppliers to draw in new customers, The Citizens Utility Board is introducing a free online calculator so consumers can see what would they pay with an alternative supplier versus ComEd or Ameren. CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen warns while some alternatives can offer better deals, others have become "desperate" to sign up new customers.
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"We have heard complaints from city officials across the state of people going door to door and sometimes trying to take customers away from municipal aggregation programs," Chilsen said. "I think if you asked most consumers, they would want to have a choice for their electricity supplier, but they would also say I don't want to get ripped off and I want good information." In order to compare prices to ComEd or Ameren, you'll need the alternative supplier's rate per kilowatt-hour, its monthly fee, and your estimated monthly power usage. CUB created the calculator in response to Chicago ending its municipal aggregation program, which was the largest of its kind in the U.S. Chilsen says the end of the deal will move more than 600,000 households back to ComEd automatically. The calculator is available at CUBPowerCalculator.com.