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Electric Competition

The Illinois Commerce Commission has issued a statement calling for more prominent disclosure by electric utilities and other electric suppliers of the  Price to Compare— the cost to a consumer should they decide to purchase supply and delivery service from an established public utility company.   It said that even though there is evidence that consumers are already responding to market signals as the average price of supply by alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES) has increased, it has been reported that statewide customers spent $195.3 million more than the utility rate by taking supply service from ARES in 2018, which is a 24.1% increase over 2017.   An annual report to the state legislature and Governor to the Commission’s Office of Retail Market Development (ORMD) includes several statistical measures indicating changes in the state of competition in Illinois electric markets:  (1) the number of customers being served by an alternate supplier has decreased almost 6% since last year; (2) as of May 2018, about 1.77 million residential customers were on ARES service, compared to about 1.88 million customers a year earlier and over 3 million customers four years ago; (3) across the state, 38.5% of residential customers are taking supply from an ARES, down 2.4% from last year. In addition, statewide, the number of ARES and agents, brokers and consultants certified by the commission to serve retail customers has been increasing. However, in general, the number of customers choosing to receive their electric supply from an ARES is decreasing, most significantly in the residential market.  The ORMD has concluded that overall, the electric supply markets are becoming less competitive—or more concentrated—for non-residential customers statewide and residential customers in the ComEd territory. The ORMD is requesting that regulated utilities, including the states’ largest public utility companies, ComEd and Ameren, display the Price to Compare on monthly electric bills for residential and small commercial retail customers. The ORMD also recommends that Alternative Electric Retail Suppliers (ARES) include the utility Price to Compare on any marketing materials that mention price-per-kilowatt-hour to residential or small retail commercial customers. Currently, the Price to Compare is available to the public on the commission’s website.  Re Annual Report to the General Assembly, Jun. 2018 (Ill.C.C.).


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