ComEd Is Cheaper Than Retailer, Chicago Consumers Are Discovering

Illinois customers who switched to a three-year contract last August with a retail provider, “thinking the grass was greener away from Commonwealth Edison (ComEd),” may be well-advised to check their invoices, according to a report by CBS-TV Chicago.

More than 60 cities and towns in northern Illinois that signed up for municipal aggregation last year have since switched back to ComEd – leaving the alternative provider, Homefield Energy, in the dust after realizing that their new retail energy supplier was charging higher rates than the traditional utility.

Take the case of Dorann Gunard, who signed up with Homefield Energy because her home town of Mount Prospect, Illinois, had a contract with the company. She told CBS-TV that she thought “we were to supposed to save money through Homefield.”

But homeowners in Mount Prospect now are paying nearly 8 cents per kilowatt (kW), or about $40 a month for 500 kW. If they still were with ComEd, they would be paying less than 7 cents/kW, or $35 a month – and saving a full $60 annually.

Illinois Power Marketing (IPM)– d/b/a Homefield Energy, a Dynegy company– is a 15-year-old retailer that has been serving Illinois customers since 2000. The company claims to offer electric choice and competitive prices “to over 500,000 business and residential customers.”

Why didn’t Mount Prospect alert its residents to the overcharges? Actually, Mount Prospect village managers have told local residents; the information is on their website in their newsletter. Last August, when the village signed a three-year contract with Homefield, the alternative provider was slightly cheaper. Then ComEd rates dropped, which is why they now recommend going back to the utility.

In most communities, switching back to ComEd will not cost a termination fee. The ratepayer advocacy group, Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has more information to help consumers navigate the decision.

At the time of the report, Homefield Energy had not provided comment.

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