Illinois
6:20 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Watchdog says savings from electricity aggregation could be short-lived

Many northern Illinois communities are rolling out their electricity aggregation programs. The process allows cities to seek cheaper utility rates for residents and businesses. But a watchdog says consumers she be aware of certain factors before signing up.

Thanks to a new state law and successful referenda, nearly 250 cities and counties across the state have the authority to negotiate bulk contracts with alternative suppliers, in hopes of securing lower rates. Jim Chilsen of the Citizens Utility Board says the overall success of this initiative might not last.

"There are definitely savings to be enjoyed in the short term. The jury's still out on whether there will be long term savings" Chilsen said.

Chilsen says that’s because Com-Ed’s electricity purchasing contract expires in June of next year.  He says that means Com-Ed’s rates could drop significantly. 

He advises consumers to sign up for short term deals with alternative suppliers, or for deals that offer a reasonable opt-out clause.