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Electricity supplier choices for ComEd customers

SUMMARY

There are several electricity supplier choices available to ComEd customers. Following are typical “Prices to Compare” from highest to lowest:

  1. ComEd Fixed Rate: 7.7 cents per kWh
  2. Individually Selected Supplier: 5.9 to 7.0 cents (typically add ~0.5 cents for “green” option)
  3. Community Selected Supplier: 5.5 to 6.0 cents
  4. ComEd Hourly Rate “RRTP”: 4.5 to 6.0 cents (going to 4.0 to 4.5 cents effective June 2012)

THE OPTIONS

For customers in the ComEd service territory there four main options for supplying your electricity. Regardless of which supplier you choose, ComEd still delivers the electricity and you still contact ComEd if there is an outage.

“Price to Compare”

Illinois has established a standard “Price to Compare” per kWh of electricity usage. The “Price to Compare” allows apples-to-apples comparison of prices. See below for “Additional Costs to Consider.”

1. ComEd Fixed Rate

This is the standard rate plan that more than 90% of ComEd residential customers are currently using. The current “Price to Compare” is 7.7 cents per kWh.

2. Individually Selected Supplier

Starting in 2011, individual customers could choose their own electricity supplier. As of Feb 2012 there are currently 18 companies to choose from. To learn more see Citizens Utility Board Electric Competition: What ComEd customers should know or the ICC “Plug In Illinois” List of Supplier Pricing.

3. Community Selected Supplier

Also starting in 2011, communities could choose electricity suppliers on behalf of their residents if voters approve a referendum. As of February 2012, 20 communities voted for such a referendum and it will be on the ballot for 201 communities on March 20, 2012.

The typical ballot wording says “Shall the Village of XYZ have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

For communities that have selected a supplier, most offer electricity at a “Price to Compare” of 5.5 to 6.0 cents per kWh. See the ICC list of communities that have Municipal Aggregation Programs. This is also known as “Community Aggregation.”

For more information see Citizens Utility Board The facts about community aggregation of electricity or Chicago Tribune article Consumers making the switch by Julie Wernau.

4. ComEd Hourly Rate “RRTP”

“RRTP” (Residential Real-Time Pricing) is an option where electricity prices vary every hour based on the actual market price of electricity. Hourly rates are normally significantly less than fixed price plans and are highest during hot summer afternoons when the air conditioning load is heaviest.

A significant environmental benefit of this plan is that customers have a direct economic incentive to minimize their use of electricity during peak periods. These heavy demand times usually require operation of the least efficient and potentially most polluting power plants to meet the heavy electrical load.

Although prices vary hourly, when averaged over the entire year the prices even out. My full-year RRTP “Prices to Compare” for the past three years have been: 4.6 cents in 2009, 5.0 cents in 2010, and 4.5 cents in 2011.

RRTP prices are expected to go down effective June 2012, when the “Capacity Charge” will decrease significantly. The “Capacity Charge” is based in part on each customer’s actual usage during peak summer periods.

To learn more about RRTP see Introduction to ComEd hourly electricity pricing.

Additional Costs to Consider

There are additional fixed and variable costs no matter which supplier you choose.

For all four options ComEd charges an additional fixed cost of approximately $17.50, the largest of which is the $14.26 “Customer Charge.” ComEd also charges additional variable costs of approximately 3.0 cents per kWh of usage. The largest of these is the “Distribution Facilities Charge.”

Program your thermostat for ComEd hourly electricity savings

Significant savings is available by programming your thermostat to schedule your air conditioning.

The largest fixed cost in your ComEd hourly electricity bill is usually the “Capacity Charge.” The Capacity Charge is a fixed monthly cost based on your electricity usage during the ten hours in the previous summer where the system-wide and ComEd-area load was highest.

By pre-cooling your house by a few degrees you can avoid running your air conditioner during these peak hours, which will reduce your fixed Capacity Charge every month next year. Additional savings comes from avoiding higher rates during the summer that typically occur between noon and 6 pm.

For more information see Introduction to ComEd hourly electricity pricing. Continue reading to learn how much you can save and how to program your thermostat.

Continue reading ‘Program your thermostat for ComEd hourly electricity savings’ »

Simple cell phones at a low cost

Is low cost a high priority? And high-tech features a low priority? Then TracFone may be a good solution for you.

TracFone has cell phone plans that cost as little as $5 or $10 per month including all taxes and fees. Although the phones don’t have all the features of a smartphone you can still do texting and limited web access.

Aside from low cost, one other big advantage of TracFone’s prepaid plans is that you only pay for the minutes you use. Any unused minutes remain available as long as you keep the phone active. Continue reading ‘Simple cell phones at a low cost’ »

An update on Illinois Cash for Clunker Appliances

An update on Illinois Cash for Clunker Appliances

… the last day to buy a water heater was February 21, 2010.
… the last day to buy a furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or boiler is April 5, 2010.

Introduction to ComEd hourly electricity pricing

ComEd has two electricity pricing plans: (1) the standard plan that is based on a fixed rate, and (2) an hourly pricing plan. In addition, there are both individually-selected and community-selected alternative electricity suppliers. For more info see Electricity supplier choices for ComEd customers.

ComEd is northern Illinois’ electricity utility and the hourly pricing plan is more formally known as the Residential Real-Time Pricing (RRTP) program, which began in 2007.

You can probably save money by selecting the hourly plan. And you will be more aware of the real-time cost of electricity, which is related to the environmental impact of electricity generation.

Continue reading ‘Introduction to ComEd hourly electricity pricing’ »

Illinois Gas Company Rebates

In addition to the rebates mentioned in my Illinois Cash for Clunker Appliances post there are also rebates available from natural gas companies.

Continue reading ‘Illinois Gas Company Rebates’ »

Illinois Cash for Clunker Appliances

The money could run out quickly… Illinois’ Cash for Clunker Appliances program runs in two phases.

The first phase is January 31 through April 5, 2010, and is for furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, boilers and water heaters. Rebates range from about $350 to $1200. Water heater rebates ended February 21st.

The second phase is April 16 through April 25, 2010, and is for appliances including refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and room air conditioners. Rebates will be 15% off the purchase price from participating retailers. In addition a mail-in rebate of $75 will be available if you recycle your old refrigerator or freezer.

Continue reading ‘Illinois Cash for Clunker Appliances’ »

Cheap home phone service: switch to VoIP

Tech Alert: Medium

Want to save money on your home phone service? Then switch to a “Voice over IP” (VoIP) telephone service. VoIP uses your Internet connection to connect your telephone calls to the normal telephone network.

Continue reading ‘Cheap home phone service: switch to VoIP’ »

Welcome to The Frugal Nerd

How can we use technology to save money? This is the kind of question to be answered in this blog…

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