If you live in one of these Illinois cities, you’d better watch your energy bills

Many Illinoisans live in cities that have negotiated competitive electricity rates for their citizens. This is referred to as money to burnmunicipal aggregation. In most cases, the negotiated rates are lower than the default Comed Utility rate. However, Comed’s rates have come down to 7.006 cents/kwh which means many city rates are now too high. Depending on electricity use, consumers who live in these higher rate cities could be paying an extra $10, $20, $30 or more for electricity every month.

The cities and their rates are listed here:

Aurora – 8.086/kwh

Dwight – 7.88/kwh

Justice – 7.89/kwh

Lanark – 7.852/kwh

Morton Grove – 7.84/kwh

Mount Prospect – 7.935/kwh

Owen Township – 7.845/kwh

Riverside – 7.81/kwh

Warrenville – 7.89/kwh

Consumers living in those cities should consider opting out of their municipal plan. There are no penalties to do so under Illinois law. While they can now switch back to Comed whenever they want, consumers in those cities could also shop for much cheaper rates or let a service such as Energy Simply manage that shopping and switching for them. Rates in Illinois are as low as 6 cents/kwh meaning that significant savings can be realized. And – when consumers let Energy Simply do the shopping and switching, they can rest easy knowing that they’re in the cheapest electricity plan at all times.

It’s Rob’s Birthday and he wants you to switch to renewable

Ecofriendly Birthday Cake

Picture courtesy of http://www.ecofriend.com

This week I celebrate a milestone birthday and I have a small favor to ask: please consider switching to 100% renewable energy.  As shown in a previous blog post, renewable energy is sometimes the same price as or sometimes 10%-15% more expensive than non-renewable energy.

This was a big year for my spouse and I as we raise our first child in (see my personal Facebook page for pictures) and we are experiencing all of the joys and challenges of parenthood.  One of those joys and challenges is thinking about the world you want your child to live in.

I have heard people say that the current generation is the first generation to experience the effects of pollution and the last one that can make a major change.  I hope that for sake of the next generation, we have the collective will to make a change.

Thanks–

–Rob

P.S. Energy Simply is only available in some states, but there are options to go 100% renewable in nearly all states.  For example, in Washington state, Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy both offer programs to go renewable:

Rob Dolin is the Co-Founder and CTO of Energy Simply.  He has over a dozen years experience in the technology industry including work in the Office, MSN, and Windows divisions of Microsoft Corp. and technical partnerships with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Sina Weibo.  Rob holds a B.S. in Engineering with Honors from the University of Illinois and a Graduate Certificate in User-Centered Design from the University of Washington..

ComEd Customers: No Minimum Commitment Period

Recently there was some good news for Illinoisans. Recently Energy Choice Matters reported that there is no longer a minimum time that you are required to stay with ComEd before switching to a new company. Previously, if you switched back to ComEd from another supplier you were required to stay there for 12 months. Not so anymore.  handcuffs

This is just one more reason it makes sense to shop around for your electricity in Illinois. You can get the cheapest or
greenest electricity and always have ComEd rates as a fallback. If you want the cheapest or greenest but don’t have the time or expertise to shop around, let us do it for you.

You can switch or Energy Simply can switch you to a better deal or a 100% renewable plan at any time!

FAQ: Why do you need my credit card?

You’re serious about saving and you want it to be simple, right? Us too. But we get it – we’re asking you for some personal information like a power bill and credit card info, so you want to know why. Here’s a brief explanation, with a more detailed one available on our website:

  1. You’ll enter your email and zip and tell us if you want the cheapest or the cheapest 100% renewable electricity.
  2. Enter your payment information – IMPORTANT – you will not be charged anything until we provide you with your tailored plan and you approve it.
  3. Upload an electricity bill (or take a picture of it and send it to us) so we can provide you with your tailored plan.

Once you’ve submitted this information you’ll receive a tailored plan within 24 hours via email. By approving that tailored plan you’ll complete the process and become a customer. We will never charge a fee until your tailored plan goes into effect and we keep your information safe and secure.  bank vault

We are serious about savings and service – we want customers who are serious too – by providing your detailed information up front we can provide you savings faster and more efficiently.

Energy Simply’s Algorithm: Technology and Consumer Focus Save You Money

Question: What do you get when you put a McKinsey and Co. Management Consultant together with a Microsoft Engineer with a statistics background? 

Answer: Energy Simply’s proprietary algorithm that helps select the BEST energy plan FOR YOU.

We look at ALL energy plans available to you, not just ones that pay us a “kick-back.” In fact we don’t take kick-backs or any incentives from energy companies. We’re only paid by you, so we’re always in your corner.

We understand MARKET TIMING and look at short-term and long-term plans and optimize for your lowest cost. That way you don’t get stuck in a long-term plan if rates are dropping and don’t get a short-term plan if rates are rising.

We FREQUENTLY ANALYZE the market looking for the best plans. If a plan is available that could save you money, we calculate and, with your permission, automatically switch you.

We MONITOR CONTRACT EXPIRATION dates so you don’t get stuck paying huge rates when your contract switches from fixed price to variable.

We customize the plan FOR YOU. A plan that might be great for you in July when you need air conditioning may not be the best plan for you in the spring when the temperature is moderate. We look at your past energy use to help choose a plan that’s right for you now and right for you in the future.

Texans Energy creates a new low in market manipulation

Texans Energy, a new power company, has come onto the scene with a seemingly appealing offering that shows up on the first page of Power To Choose offerings.  With Texans Energy, if you use over 999 kWh you get a $65 bill credit.  Seems great right?  There is one big catch though, you don’t get the credit if you use more than 1200 kWh.  You might be scratching your head right now thinking, “what are the chances I’ll be within a 200 kWh range of usage?”  Seems unhelpful right…

Why would they do this?  One reason, to manipulate their ranking on Power To Choose.  As I’ve written about before, Power To Choose ranks plans based on their average kWh cost for 1000 kWh of usage.  That means that even though it’s unlikely that a customer will hit Texans Energy’s narrow range, it’s 100% likely that they will succeed in artificially inflating their ranking on Power To Choose.

What’s next, a $100 credit if you hit exactly 1000 kWh?  That way a company can be assured to be at the top of the rankings while still screwing over it’s customers. Hey Power to Choose! It’s time to change the “rules” so they work for customers and not market manipulators.MiLkAzLgT

FAQ: Can I switch my electric power company?

You don’t have to keep overpaying for electricity,  or keep polluting the world with dirty electricity.  If you live in Texas or Illinois, you can switch and start getting cheaper and/or greener power now.

changesameIn Texas, if you are currently not under contract (on a month-to-month or pay as you go plan)  you can switch right now.  You can also switch right now, with no termination fee, if your plan expires in the next 14 days (you are within the state mandated grace period).  If you are not in either of those 2 groups, you can still switch right now, but you are likely under contract and subject to a termination fee ranging from $100-$200 if you switch.

If you fall into one of the first 2 groups you  should always switch right now.  You are definitely paying more than you need to if you have a month-to-month plan or a pay as you go plan, and if your plan expires in the next 14 days you want to switch now so the company can’t hit you with month-to-month variable rates upon contract expiration.  If you have a cancellation charge, it may still be worthwhile to switch.  Our average customers save ~$50/month and some of our customers have saved $100s/month.  If you haven’t changed providers in more than a year, you have more than a few months left on your contract, and you live in a 2000+ square-foot house, chances are you can save money by switching.  You can go to www.powertochoose.org and pick a plan.

Things to remember when picking a Texas plan:

1) Always choose a fixed price plan

2) You can often save money with 3-6 month plans

3) Make sure you note your contract end date, so you can sign yourself up for your next plan before the one you choose expires

4) Your use varies so take a look at www.smartmetertexas.com to help you figure out what your expected usage will actually be

5) Always look at the fact label and make sure the company isn’t playing games with pricing using large credits or other tricks to make their plan look cheaper

In Illinois, the vast majority of people will have no cost to switch (basically if you’ve never switched before there will be no cost to switch).  So you can go to www.pluginillinois.org,  choose a cheaper (current price to compare from ComEd is ~7¢/kWh ) or greener plan and in 3 to 7 weeks you will be receiving power from your new provider.

Two things to remember when choosing an Illinois plan:

1) Always choose a fixed price plan!

2) Make sure you know when your plan will end and remember to switch again to a new plan ~5 weeks before the end of your plan to avoid getting hit with variable rates at the end of your contract (to figure this out you also need to know when it starts).

And lastly,  remember there is an alternative to spending your precious tine staying on top of this stuff.  You can let Energy Simply manage it all for you.  We are electricity market experts and we are always thinking of ways to keep you in the best cheapest (and potentially greenest) plans.  We sign you up for the best available plan, track prices in case it ever makes sense to switch mid-contract, and switch you before your contract expires so you never get stuck paying variable rates.  And it will only cost you $5/month.  Sign up today!

Case Study: Accountants Use Energy Simply, Shouldn’t You?

accountant

Herschel is an accountant who decided to research to find his best energy plan. After researching, he decided to become an Energy Simply customer.  Here are some of his reasons:

  • Time – It took multiple hours to research offers, read the fine print, and build a simple model.  Doing this every time his contract comes-up (3 to 6 mos) is not the best use of Herschel’s time; but Energy Simply does this for him.
  • Expertise – While Herschel may be able to amortize a fixed cost like a professional, he’s not an expert in the electricity industry.  Energy Simply understands the tricks companies play to make their prices seem better than they actually are and has a sophisticated proprietary model for finding the best plan for each household’s electricity usage.
  • Monitoring – Energy Simply monitors the electricity market frequently and looks for price changes.  Herschel doesn’t check as often and may be missing-out on opportunities to switch providers if a better deal becomes available.

Case Study: Small Apartment

Our company is primarily focused on saving Texas consumers money on their electricity. But we also have a unique offering in Illinois that makes up a smaller percentage of our business.

small apartmentAnne was an early adopter of the Energy Simply offering and she has been so pleased with our concept that she’s offered to provide customer testimony for marketing. When I first told Anne about our company I wasn’t sure I would have much chance of gaining her business. Her residence is a small, energy-efficient apartment in Chicago so her electricity use is extremely low. But what struck a chord with Anne wasn’t the money she could save – it was the convenient, no-risk way we could guarantee her the cheapest 100% renewable electricity. She’d carried the guilt around for months and months – knowing she could be buying energy produced from wind and solar, but not knowing where to start or how to avoid paying too much. Energy Simply provided the solution and now Anne’s carbon footprint is smaller – and she’s saving a few bucks a month to boot!

To review – even if you’re in a small apartment, Energy Simply can:

-Help you save if the apartment is older/innefficient

-Lower your carbon footprint by getting you the cheapest 100% renewable

-Ensure you’ll avoid expensive variable rate pricing or hidden fees sometimes associated with renewables

Check out our explainer video or contact us to learn more.

Powers out…what now?

Who you gonna call?

ghostbustersWhen I was a kid one of my absolute favorite movies was Ghostbusters and the theme song was the absolute best! But even that great song is not going to cheer you up when your power goes out and you’re wondering…”who you gonna call?” And…you may be wondering who the heck to call since there are now so many electricity companies out there. 

When your power goes out, it is important to report it to the utility company that produces and delivers your electricity…not the retail electricity supplier (who you buy your electricity from). It is important because the more information the utility has about where power is out – the better they can respond with repairs to restore the electricity. Also, many utility companies offer some excellent communications services like text message alerts and time estimates for how long until your power is restored. So, here is a little reference guide for who to call when your power goes out… 

 

Illinois Customers 

 

Greater Chicagoland Area: Comed 

 

Western, Central and Southern Illinois: Ameren 

 

Texas Customers 

 

Austin: Austin Energy 

 

Dallas/Ft. Worth and Surrounding Areas: Oncor Electric Delivery 

 

Lewisville and North Texas: Texas-New Mexico Power Company 

 

Houston and Surrounding Areas: CenterPoint Energy or Texas-New Mexico Power Company 

 

South Texas: AEP Texas Central Company 

 

 

SharylandSharyland Utilities