November 8, 2006
Residential Electric Suppliers Poised to Enter Illinois Market
CHICAGO, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- After a nine-year rate freeze and 20 percent rate cut, ComEd's residential customers may soon have a choice of electricity suppliers. Already several retail electric suppliers have expressed interest in serving Illinois consumers, once ComEd rates increase to reflect market levels. Three new retail electric suppliers filed this past week seeking certification from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), and four additional suppliers have been certified to provide service over the last few months.
BlueStar Energy Services, WPS Energy Services and Direct Energy have said they are considering entering the Illinois residential electric market. BlueStar is already certified by the ICC to provide service to residential customers, but has not begun offering it yet.
"Consumers want a choice of electricity suppliers. They know that the forces of competition drive prices down," said Guy Morgan, CEO of BlueStar, a retail electric supplier based in Chicago. "Once electric rates increase to reflect the going market price, it will create an environment where BlueStar can compete to serve Northern Illinois residents."
Residential customers have had the ability to choose another electricity supplier other than ComEd since May 2002, as part of the Illinois restructuring law passed in 1997. However, other suppliers couldn't compete with ComEd's artificially low rates. In fact, a June 2006 report from the federal government's Electric Energy Market Competition Task Force found that the absence of market-based rates was the primary barrier to residential competition.
"In states where rates reflect the market, they see a greater amount of competition for residential electric customers," said Anne Pramaggiore, senior vice president of regulatory affairs, ComEd. "Illinois customers could see many more energy choices after our electric rates come into line with market prices. ComEd supports a customer's right to choose an alternate supplier."
ComEd will continue to deliver the electricity to customers who choose an alternate supplier. Like the phone and natural gas companies, ComEd will continue to own and maintain the poles, wires and other infrastructure that brings electricity to customers' homes and businesses, but another company would supply the power.
The business community is already experiencing the benefits of electric competition. ComEd commercial and industrial customers currently can choose from 14 different energy suppliers. Already, about 60 percent of the load of ComEd's largest business customers is served by another supplier. A complete list of alternate electric suppliers is available at http://www.comedpowerpath.com/ .
"Strategic Energy is bringing innovative energy buying strategies for commercial and industrial customers to Illinois. Our national expertise and robust knowledge of the electricity market will help these businesses take full advantage of competition," said Jeff Buxton, executive vice president of marketing for Strategic Energy, a leading provider of electricity services to businesses for over 20 years. "Energy costs are a major business expense, and competition opens a variety of electricity products and service options previously unavailable to Illinois customers."
Both business and residential customers in other states are already enjoying the benefits of residential competition. In Texas, there are more than 20 residential electric suppliers. New York also offers a choice of six to 16 residential energy suppliers in each electric service territory.
Electricity supply costs represent approximately two-thirds of the total electric bill for ComEd residential customers. For an average residential customer with a $60 monthly bill, the 2007 increase would be about $13.20 per month, a 22 percent increase. The increase would not take effect until Jan. 2, 2007. The electricity supply prices are locked in until June 2008.
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation , one of the nation's largest electric utilities with approximately 5.2 million customers and more than $15 billion in annual revenues. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.7 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population.
CONTACT: Judy Rader, ComEd Media Relations, +1-312-394-3500
Web site: http://www.comedpowerpath.com/