Thinking of switching electrial provider and need some tips.
June 26, 2012 6:23 PM   Subscribe

I am considering changing my electricity provider and I have never done this before. What I want to know are what things should be considered before making a switch such as this. My basics reasons are cost and that Comed, the local provider has treated me like crap over the years and I am tired of their corporate doublespeak and crappy service.

So yeah, Illinois, check my profile for the town. Dupage county. I rent an apartment downtown. Anyway, Comed has always been nasty to me making me pay for deposits that were totally unnecessary and frankly the service sucks. While I understand that another energy supplier won’t be able to fix the blackouts during windstorms and such, at the same time as long as I am getting crappy service, I may as well pay a little less for it.

So the questions are these:
- Who of the myriad of alternative energy suppliers have a better record than others?
- Can anyone give me the straight answer on what, if any, deposits are required?
- How difficult is the change over to an alternate provider from the current one?
- I have checked this website, Plug In Illinois, but can anyone point to pages that may be more useful than others or websites that have more information?

Finally, any answers don’t have to be local to Illinois. I am trying to get an idea of the whole alternative/green energy delivery picture so examples from other locations are welcome. It is also possible that your local provider also has a presence in Illinois.

Help me make an informed choice! Thanks!
posted by lampshade to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Our town (North Aurora) entered into an agreement with an electricity provider where everyone in the town signed up (or, rather, didn't opt out) with them and got a better rate than usual (supposedly...I dunno, I didn't really check it out). You may want to check to see if your current town has a similar agreement. Unfortunately, I can't vouch for any of the alternate energy providers. As far as I understand, signing up is relatively simple: all you need to do is call them up and verify you are the account holder, and they take care of the rest.
posted by puritycontrol at 7:25 PM on June 26, 2012

Best answer: Comed is still going to be your electric company for service but Illinois is offering you a choice to change the company you purchase your energy from which seems like a deal but doesn't amount to much more than a 5-10% discount at the end of the month, but hey that's something. The key to increasing your profit margin is to find those companies offering the sign up rebates.
posted by any major dude at 8:11 PM on June 26, 2012

Best answer: I've had better savings with ComEd's Residential Real Time Pricing (RRTP) program. Most non-summer months I've been saving 15 to 20% off standard rates with diligent use of power and careful thermostat programming.

The real concern will be if the city of Chicago decides to leave ComEd as a supplier. Every other suburb not in an aggregate agreement will get screwed (see today's Trib), and maintenance will also probably suffer.

Either way, I feel your pain (since I live very close to your town). A squirrel can fart on a wire and a whole neighborhood will go down. I've been told the infrastructure here is among the worst in the state.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:00 PM on June 26, 2012

Best answer: In many cases when you change your utility provider, you're still getting utilities from the same service, you're just getting a better rate by signing up with a consolidator.

Here in Atlanta, we have a choice for natural gas providers. I'm with Gas South, I have my bills with them. But if there's a problem, it's Atlanta Gas and Light that shows up to fix it.

Where the rubber is going to meet the road is in reporting service outages. It's a bit of a hoopla because you call the consolidator, they call the provider, then someone eventually comes out and fixes...whatever.

If you feel strongly, switch.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:52 AM on June 27, 2012

Response by poster: This all sounds great so far folks. Keep the ideas coming. Hearing real life experiences is giving me a lot of food for thought.
posted by lampshade at 10:51 AM on June 27, 2012

Response by poster: Ok....marking as answered. I appreciate all the comments. I did some more investigation based on what you put in and it really helped point out a few items.

posted by lampshade at 4:17 PM on July 4, 2012

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