Updated May 15, 2015 with the help of Unit Owner Sheldon Atovsky from the News and Social Media Committee.
For Park Tower residents currently on the City Aggregation Program, through the supplier “Constellation”, we suggest you take no action at this time.
The City of Chicago ends its Municipal Aggregation Program as of the reading of our meters in May 2015, which determines our bills received in June. The Municipal Aggregation Program engaged an electricity supplier for the entire City of Chicago and its residents, although we were all able to opt out and to find our own retail electricity supplier. Regardless of the supplier, Com Ed delivers the electricity from the supplier to us and also manages the billing of supply, delivery and taxes and fees.
The first supplier engaged by the City was Integrys. The second supplier is Constellation. It is curious that Constellation acquired Integrys in 2014 and that both Constellation and Com Ed are subdivisions of Exelon Corporation. Constellation is part of Exelon’s Marketing division and Com Ed is a part of Exelon’s Transmission division.
Between June and September a new rate structure will be used which will eliminate the customer charge and use the supply rate of the lower of 7.145 cents per kWh or 7.04 cents per kWh, the Com Ed Price to Compare. The latter rate is supposed to reflect the true cost that Com Ed pays for the electricity and not to include any profit. Thus the rate of 7.04 cents per kWh charged to us by Com Ed, acting as an electricity supplier for this period of June through September, may fluctuate, up or down by .5 cents per kWh, depending on the true cost Com Ed pays to acquire its electricity. Starting with the meter reading in August, 2015, bills for which will be received in September or October, 2015, we will automatically be switched to Com Ed as our electricity supplier unless we engage a different supplier.
We are free to engage an electricity supplier on our own as the City of Chicago will no longer do so. We may change to an electricity supplier of our own choice now or later. Our other choice is to just let the process take care of itself. In this case, Constellation will continue to supply our electricity through our August meter reading and then we will seamlessly be switched to Com Ed as the new retail electricity supplier.
The best website I can find to understand what the open market will be is presented by the Illinois Commerce Commission: pluginillinois.org. The website does an excellent job of explaining far more than any of us want to know about purchasing electricity but we are forced to do in a quasi-unregulated, “free” market.
From what I can see Com Ed will be the most competitive electricity supplier although this can change as often as every 6 months. PlugInIllinois suggests that Com Ed’s rate is expected to be competitive for upto a year.
Com Ed presently requires neither a contract nor a fee to break a contract both of which several competitors do. Com Ed’s rate of 7.05 cents per kWh, including the fluctuation, up and down, of upto .5 cents per kWh, seems like the most competitive. This is the link to the comparative chart: http://www.pluginillinois.org/offers.aspx?said=1. I found, also, an interesting article in Chicago Magazine from June, 2014, which offers some insight: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/July-2014/Your-Simple-Guide-to-Chicagos-Electricity-Rates/ .
Our purchasing of electricity is now on par, for the retail consumer, with purchasing a phone plan, cable, internet service and natural gas. Good luck to us!
To learn more about the Aggregation program coming to an end, Click Here For A Recent Article In Crain’s.
Also from the Citizens Utility Board, guidance for choosing a supplier:
With the recent changes, this article is a bit out of date, however it is a great resource to help explain deregulation, and to help you understand what to look for if you want to choose an alternate supplier.
ALSO, I am at owners and residents disposal to try to help and answer any questions I can. What I do not know, I will try to find out. Just shoot me an e-mail.
Special thanks to Sheldon for the added information and insights!