Plug In Illinois

How does the electric system work?
What is changing?
What will I be choosing?
What remains the same?
What would I want to choose?
Do I have to make a change?
How do I change suppliers?
If I change suppliers, will my current electric utility treat me differently?
If I stay with my utility company, will anything change?
Will I save money?
What options exist for purchasing power?
Who may be marketing power?
How will I be billed?

 

Restructuring the Illinois Electric Service Industry

How does the electric system work?
There are three steps to getting electricity: generation (production of electricity), transmission (sending high voltage power to distribution points), and distribution (delivering power to your business or home).

What is changing?
Illinois is establishing a competitive market for electric service and the generation portion is open to choice.

What will I be choosing?
You will choose who provides the generation portion. Power will be sold not only by your current electric utility company but also by other electric utilities and Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES).

What remains the same?
Your current electric utility company remains responsible for delivering electricity. The current electric utility company must provide reliable delivery service even if you choose a new supplier.

Making Choices

What would I want to choose?
Electric restructuring empowers customers to choose who supplies the generation portion of the electric service. The supplier can be the current electric utility or another supplier. You may choose the company that supplies your electric generation based on your own needs and preferences. Those may include how or where the electricity is produced, economic, or environmental support, the lowest price or total cost or the best combination of the prices, services and incentives.

Do I have to make a change?
No. You may choose to change suppliers or remain with your current electric utility. Regardless of which company you choose to generate electricity, your current electric company remains responsible for delivering your electricity and providing reliable delivery service.

How do I change suppliers?
After you sign an agreement with another supplier, that new supplier will notify your current utility.

If I change suppliers, will my current electric utility treat me differently?
The electric utility company cannot discriminate based on who supplies your generation. It must deliver electricity to eligible customers regardless of their electricity suppliers. The ICC must review and approve any changes, terms, and conditions for delivery service.

If I stay with my utility company, will anything change?
You will continue to receive the same service as you do now.

Will I save money?
That depends. You’ll need to compare prices and charges before changing suppliers.
Purchasing Power

What options exist for purchasing power?
Remain with the current utility as a bundled customer (generation, transmission, and distribution).
Elect to become a delivery services customer (As a delivery services customer you may purchase the generation portion of your electricity from another electric utility or from an ARES.

Who may be marketing power?

ARES
Aggregators, or group buyers
Utilities, selling outside their service areas

Billing

How will I be billed?
If you choose to become a delivery services customer, expect changes in how you are billed. You may receive one bill from the new supplier, or you may receive seperate bills – one from the electric supplier and one from the local utility company that delivers electricity to you.

The charges on an electric bill could include:

Generation charge for producing electricty
Transmission charge for transporting electricity from the generation source to the local utility.
Delivery service charge for distribution service provided by the electric utility company to keep the transmission and distribution systems functioning so customers can receive electric service.
Customer charge, which is basic service charge to partially cover the costs of billing, meter reading, equipment and service line maintenance.

Customer Rights

Unauthorized switching of suppliers. The law prohibits switching customers without written authorization.

Terms of service. Before beginning to provide service, a supplier must provide a terms of service statement detailing charges, length of the contract, process for notification regarding changes in terms of service and a toll-free number to call.

Access to billing data. Customers or authorized agents are entitled to obtain their billing and usage data from the current electric utility upon request but may be required to pay a reasonable fee.


Customer service call center.
All electric utilities and alternative suppliers are required to provide a customer service call center where consumers can receive assistance and information.

Understanding Key Terms

Aggregator An entity that brings customers together to buy electricity in bulk in order to increase customers’ buying power. Aggregators facilitate the sale of power but usually are not sellers. Aggregators are defined as ARES only when they sell electricity.

Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (ARES) Any person, corporation, generator, broker, marketer, aggregator or other entity certified by the ICC that sells electricity to customers.

Bundled Service Full service, including generation, transmission, and distribution.

Delivery Services Those services provided by the electric utility, including standard metering and billing that are necessary for the delivery of power to customers.

Distribution The use of wires by the local utility to deliver electricity to a home or business. These services include standard metering.

Electric Utility An entity that provides electric power generation and delivery services within a local service area and also may sell generation services to customers in other utility service territories.

Generation The act of using fuels, such as fossil, nuclear or renewable energy, to make electricity.

Kilowatt or kW The standard unit of measure of electric demand.

Kilowatt-hour or kWh The standard unit of measure of electricity consumed.

Small commercial retail customer A nonresidential retail customer that consumes 15,000 kilowatt-hours or less of electricity annually.

Transmission The delivery of electricity from a generating facility to local utility facilities, typically over high-voltage power lines.

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