SaveOnEnergy.com previously warned Illinois customers in the Chicagoland area that Commonwealth Edison's electric rates for default supply service -- service provided to those customers who do not shop for an alternative electric supplier -- are above competing electric rates in the market, and ComEd's rates are set to jump even higher starting October 1.

SaveOnEnergy.com's analysis was based on ComEd's filed rate components and tariffs, but the Illinois Commerce Commission has now released an official "Price to Compare" for ComEd for the period starting October 1, and the rate hike is even higher than expected.

The Price to Compare is the price that the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) recommends residential customers compare when choosing an alternative retail electric supplier. It represents ComEd's supply and transmission charges that customers avoid, or "bypass," when buying their electric supply from a competing supplier. If the electric rate offered by a competing electric supplier is lower than the ComEd Price to Compare, then the customer will save money.

The ICC has updated ComEd's Price to Compare based on ComEd's recent procurement of electric supplies, and ComEd customers who do not shop for a lower electric rate are in for a severe jolt come October if they continue to buy their supply from ComEd.

Specifically, ComEd's Price to Compare for the typical residential customer, who is not on the electric space heating tariff, will be a whopping 8.542 cents per kilowatt-hour starting October 1, 2012. That's 21% higher than the current Price to Compare.

Moreover, if residential customers shop right now for a lower electric rate from a competing electric supplier, they can receive savings of 33% versus the ComEd October Price to Compare (and 20% off ComEd's current rate), with rates as low as the 5-cent range.

By shopping for a low electric rate now, customers can ensure they receive the maximum savings while they are still available. If customers wait until October to shop, offers from competing electric suppliers may "drift" upward, towards ComEd's rate of 8.5 cents, as the Price to Compare serves as a benchmark in the market which offers tend to congregate around.

ComEd customers can avoid this predicament by shopping now, before upward pressure is placed on rates, thereby taking advantage of today's low prices and avoiding ComEd's October rate hike.