By: Jordan Hobfoll, Co-Founder and CEO, Energy Simply LLC
Unlike in states like Texas, when you switch power plans in Illinois you don’t start your new plan right away (in Texas, you can either wait up to 7 business days or pay extra fees for a switch sometimes as fast as same day). So what gives?
You thought you signed up for your new plan, so where are your savings?
The answer lies in the rules for how ComEd and Ameren switch your provider. There are two restrictions that create this gap.
- There is an 18 day waiting period from when ComEd or Ameren receive the request from your new provider until when they generate the order to switch your service.
- A generated order to switch service isn’t completed until your next meter read date
So for example, if your next meter read date is in 15 days, and you sign up for service with a cheaper provider today (assuming the new provider immediately submits your request), then ComEd won’t generate the order to switch you until 3 days after that meter read date. And you won’t actually get switched until the following meter read date 27 days later, for a total of 45 days from when you signed up until you are switched. Additionally, you won’t see your new supplier on your bill until 30 days more after that, when you get the bill from that billing period.
So it could take 75+ days before you physically see a cheaper bill. No wonder it sometimes feels like it take forever. It sort of does…
So what if you sign up for a 6-month fixed term contract that is set to expire 11/15. How do you know when to sign up for another plan so you don’t get charged month-to-month variable rates by the supplier?
Well in this case, your expiration should also be your meter read date. So you want to choose a new provider at least 18 days before that date, or before 10/28. But at Energy Simply we recommend that you be even more conservative and choose your provider 2 weeks even before then, or 10/14 in this case. That way you minimize the possibility that a delay in a provider’s submission to ComEd or Ameren, or a slip up from ComEd or Ameren causes you to miss the deadline.
If it sounds complicated and a lot to keep track of, that’s because it is. However, you can simplify this process very easily. How? Let Energy Simply manage it for you! We keep track of all the dates for you and use our proprietary analysis to make sure you are always in the best plan.
Jordan Hobfoll is the Co-Founder and CEO of Energy Simply. He previously worked at McKinsey & Company, where he was a consultant for some of the largest electric utilities in the United States. Jordan also holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in Finance with High Honors from the University of Illinois.