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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.”

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