Municipal Aggregation Losing Its Spark

Apr 14, 2014

Credit Citizens Utility Board

A consumer group says the market for alternative electricity suppliers in Illinois is changing.

Over the past few years, municipalities across northern Illinois rushed to buy cheaper power from alternative suppliers. The action followed a wave of ballot questions spurred by changes in state law. The power was still supplied by Com-Ed, but residents in communities that approved aggregation were in line to receive double-digit savings from the alternative suppliers.

But Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board says that's no longer the case.

"We're seeing headlines that municipalities are going to be charging much higher through aggregation deals. It still may save consumers a little bit of money when compared to Com-Ed's rates. But the reality is there's a new normal in Illinois' electricity market," Chilsen said.

Chilsen says a lot of this appears to have stemmed from new price contracts that took effect last June. He says the alternative suppliers will have to get creative in order to stay ahead of Com-Ed's rates. He says that could include things like "energy efficiency" pricing in their deals.