As forecast, October has brought a severe jolt to the electric rates paid by Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) customers in the Chicago area, as already high rates are now even further above the market prices offered by competing energy suppliers.

On October 1, the ComEd electric rate jumped about 20% from about 7 cents to over 8.3 cents.

Residential customers can easily save 40% by switching to an alternative retail electric supplier offering a low rate through, and savings are even higher for business customers. first warned Illinois customers about the October ComEd electric rate hike back in May, explaining that ComEd bought expensive power contracts three years ago that it is still using to serve customers.  In contrast, competing electric suppliers in the market can take advantage of historic lows in wholesale power prices, thanks to the shale gas revolution, and pass these savings onto customers.

For residential customers, the official ComEd "Price to Compare" -- the price paid to ComEd if you don't shop for an alternative electric supplier -- is 8.324 cents per kWh for October 2012 through May 2013.

The actual price paid to ComEd for electric supply during October is slightly higher, at 8.824 cents, because the official Price to Compare excludes the 0.5 cent Purchased Electricity Adjustment, which is a reconciliation factor charged only to customers who buy supply from ComEd, and avoided by customers who shop.  The Purchased Electricity Adjustment can vary by month, but the Illinois Commerce Commission expects the adjustment to be a charge through May 2013.

Competing electric suppliers on are offering rates as low as the 5-cent range for ComEd residential customers, which is a savings of over 40% from ComEd's rate of 8.824 cents.

Depending on customer usage, a residential customer could save nearly $500 per year just by choosing a lower electric rate through

Rates for business customers are even lower, with savings of thousands of dollars available.

Switching to a lower electric rate with takes just a few minutes, and all the energy suppliers on are rigorously screened for financial integrity and high levels of customer service.

When you choose an alternative electric supplier, ComEd still delivers your power over its lines just as it always has, so your service reliability isn't affected -- the only thing that changes is you get a lower electric bill.

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