The Citizens Utility Board says consumers will see a significant decrease in Ameren Illinois’ summer electricity supply rate, and the agency warned against rip-offs peddled by alternative power suppliers door-to-door, over the phone or via mail.
As of June 1, Ameren’s “price to compare”—the rate customers should compare to alternative supplier offers — decreased about 13 percent, compared with June 2017, according to PlugInIllinois.org, the Illinois Commerce Commission’s electric choice website.
The new Ameren supply rate, for June – September 2018, is 4.658 cents per kilowatt-hour. The rate includes Ameren’s supply price plus a transmission services charge and a supply cost adjustment.
CUB officials said the development is a welcome change from the bad news customers received in 2015, when supply rates for Ameren customers jumped about 30 percent. That hike was connected to a yearly auction held by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the power grid operator for all or parts of 15 states, including Central and Southern Illinois.
At the time, consumer advocates called for market reforms, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission did eventually rule that MISO had to make key changes to auction rules. That has led to lower rates over the last few years, including the drop this June.
Given the latest developments, CUB invited consumers to visit CUBHelpCenter.com for tips about energy efficiency and avoiding bad electric deals. At that page, consumers also can send a message to the Illinois General Assembly asking for stronger consumer protections from alternative supplier rip-offs and scams.
“We are concerned about misleading marketing and rip-offs from alternative electricity suppliers going door-to-door, calling you on the phone or sending you a pitch by mail,” CUB Communications Director Jim Chilsen said. “That’s why we want to make sure everyone knows Ameren Illinois’ ‘price to compare.’ More and more, it seems the most reliable way to cut your bills is not through shopping on the market, but by practicing energy efficiency at home.”
Customers of alternative electric suppliers lost a record total of $197.8 million from June 2016 through May 2017, according to a report by the Illinois Commerce Commission Office of Retail Market Development.
CUB is an Illinois nonprofit utility watchdog group. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $20 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. For more details, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline at 1 (800) 669-5556 or visit CUB’s award-winning website, www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.