Commonwealth Edison and Ameren are adjusting their electric rates on June 1 as called for annually.  Although the new utility rates for small business and residential customers are lower than the current rates, the rates are still higher than what customers can find in the market by shopping for a lower priced electric can lower Illinois customers' electric bills by finding these lower rates, and forcing competing energy suppliers to undercut each other to win your business.

Medium and large business customers at both ComEd and Ameren no longer receive a flat rate for their Illinois electricity from the utility, as they are instead subjected to volatile hourly pricing unless they choose an alternative retail electric supplier.  These volatile hourly rates are not affected by the June 1 rate change.

However, small business and residential customers may still receive a flat rate from the utility that doesn't vary by the hour of the day, which is set annually in June with minimal adjustments over the next 12 months.

This "flat" rate offered to small business customers at ComEd and Ameren reflects a portfolio of power supplies bought over the last three years, with the oldest year being "rotated" out of the portfolio with new purchases every year.

This three-year procurement process means that ComEd and Ameren electric rates lag decreases in the market price for energy.  For example, the utilities' portfolio still includes power bought during the spring of 2009, when power prices were higher.  Since that time, electric rates have dropped dramatically due to the recession, which has destroyed demand.

While the utilities have captured some of these lower rates now available in the wholesale power market, they cannot completely pass these savings on to customers, since they have locked-in their cost of power at a higher rate from three years ago. 

So while electric rates are going down marginally for Illinois customers who still buy their power from the utilities, much bigger savings are available from alternative retail electric suppliers, from whom customers may choose to buy their power supplies.

Competing retail electric suppliers use a variety of strategies to buy power, and they can take full advantage of downturns in the wholesale market and pass the savings onto customers.  That means, even with the lower utility prices, competing energy suppliers can still offer significant savings off the utility's electric rate -- up to 20-30% depending on the customer and type of business.

Finding the lowest electric rate in Illinois is as simple as a few clicks of the mouse with forces alternative retail electric suppliers to compete head-to-head for your business, driving prices down and resulting in the lowest rate.  The process takes just a few minutes, taking the work out of finding a lower electric rate.

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