Citizens Utility Board offers electricity advice at Indian Prairie Library
Jack Eagan of Willowbrook studies a fact sheet from the Citizens Utility Board July 25. Ivonne Hernandez from CUB spoke at Indian Prairie Library about how to save on electric bills. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2012 1:01PM
DARIEN — Like many people, Barb Dohrman of Burr Ridge isn’t looking forward to her next electricity bill. This summer’s hot temperatures have meant hard work for air conditioners and higher bills for those trying to keep cool.
“The worst bill will be coming,” said Dohrman, who recently attended an event at Indian Prairie Public Library to help people keep their electric bills in check.
Ivonne Hernandez, a representative of the Citizens Utility Board, visited the library to help people navigate their way through electrical aggregation and how it can save some people money.
“Every case is different,” Hernandez said. And some investigation is needed to find the right plan from the nearly 30 companies now offering service in Illinois.
Some municipalities have negotiated deals with suppliers other than ComEd. Oak Brook, for instance, has contracted with Integrys to supply electricity at 5.78 cents per kilowatt hour through December 2013.
Burr Ridge chose not to pursue aggregation and instead has endorsed the Energy Savings Plan offered by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. By signing up for the program at cleanaircounts.org, customers can save 18 percent on their electricity costs.
Along with signing up for the Energy Savings Plan, Burr Ridge Trustee and resident Maureen Wott said she’s taken to living in the dark to save money on electricity this summer.
“All of my shades are shut,” she said, and the vents are turned off on the upper floor. Still, her bill more than doubled since May.
“It’s very significant,” she said.
Without her efforts to conserve, “it would have been probably twice as much,” she said.
Hernandez advised people to do their homework and to proceed with caution as they look for a supplier.
“These guys are out there trying to get new clients,” she said.
She cautioned her audience never to show their bill to a door-to-door salesman or to offer their account number to someone on the phone. With that information, their supplier can be changed without consent.
While searching for the right energy supplier, Hernandez encouraged people to consider ComEd’s Real Time Pricing program.
With Real Time Pricing, the cost of electricity fluctuates throughout the day, peaking during the daytime.
“It’s good for people who aren’t home during the day,” she said.
Hernandez also warned against “vampire electricity,” a term used to describe the use of power by appliances left plugged in while not in use.
“That’s still taking electricity,” she said.
After hearing about the many programs available, Dohrman said she will leave things the way they are.
“I think I’ll stick with ComEd,” she said.
Dohrman participates in the company’s Central Air Conditioning Cycling program. Using a switch that ComEd installed on the side of her home, ComEd can wirelessly turn her compressor off and on, using less power on the hottest days of the summer.
In the three years she has participated in the program, the company has turned her compressor off just once, for two hours one day this July.
In exchange, she earns credit on her bill.
“This has been a very valuable service,” Dohrman said.