At a meeting on Monday council members said the city should not influence which electricity provider citizens choose, the Daily Herald reported. said they would not endorse a savings program offered by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus to purchase electricity from another provider, Integrys Energy, instead of ComEd, because citizens can make those choices independently.
Eve Pytel, director of environmental initiatives for the caucus, gave a presentation on the program, which locks in a specific rate with Integrys until June 2013.
In a separate interview with Patch, Pytel said citizens could still sign up for the caucus’ program, or purchase electricity from Integrys directly. One difference is the rate of 6.1 cents per kilowatt hour is guaranteed until the end of the program next year, but Integrys offers other rates that can change to individuals, Pytel said.
She said the savings program saves consumers about 20 percent on the energy services portion of their bills, which is about 60 percent of the total charges. At publication time ComEd’s rate was 7.733 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with the program’s 6.1 cents. If ComEd’s rate goes lower than 6.1 cents during the program, the participants’ rate would default to the lower rate, Pytel said.
Participants do not pay a fee for ComEd to purchase the electricity, called a purchased electricity adjustment, Pytel said.
Program participants also receive four compact fluorescent light bulbs, which should save customers about $70 over the course of their lifetime, Pytel said.
She said while everyone’s household uses different amounts of electricity, she expects to have saved a total of $200 to $240 from the light bulbs and electric bills over the duration of the program. Pytel said she enrolled in the program in November 2011.
She said the program would end in June 2013 because ComEd was expected to lower its rates at that time, and would have then sold all of the more expensive energy that they have now.
Citizens can purchase electricity from other suppliers in addition to Integrys, but they should check to make sure the provider was listed Citizens Utility Board’s website because that means they have gone through a vetting process, Pytel said.
She said citizens that do not expect to be in their residences throughout the duration of the program might not want to participate because there is a $50 early exit fee.
The light bulbs were added to the caucus’ program because it’s part of an initiative called “Clean Air Counts,” Pytel said. She said they wanted to use the program as an excuse to get more CFL light bulbs into homes.
“We want this not just to be about saving money, we want it to be about energy efficiency,” Pytel said.