Alternate electricity providers offer benefits for those who review details
While electricity deregulation has been a prominent policy of many states for more than a decade, some areas have adopted the idea only recently and residents are still learning how to make best use of it. Roger Schlueter of the Belleville News-Democrat outlines some of the benefits and potential pitfalls for people who choose to switch electricity providers.
While many have argued with the idea, in many circumstances third-party electricity suppliers provide a clear cost advantage over traditional utility companies.
At present, Ameren, one of Illinois' traditional electricity providers, offers an electricity rate of 6.368 cents per kilowatt-hour. Direct Electric, one of the third-party providers that are relatively new to the state, offers a roughly 16 percent lower electricity rate of 5.34 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Schlueter notes, however, that certain circumstances can tip the balance back in favor of Ameren, such as homes that use electricity for heat, which can see their rate lowered more than 60 percent after a certain level of usage.
Illinois has already seen nearly 120,000 residents switch electricity providers over the course of 2011, with more than 30,000 changing in September alone, according to Plug In Illinois.