Retail Electricity Shopping Hits a New Milestone in Illinois

The flourishing competitive electricity market in Illinois hit a significant new milestone with the number of customers buying from competitive suppliers having surpassed 3 million, according to the latest statistics from the Illinois Commerce Commission’s Office of Retail Market Development (ORMD).
 
As of March 31, there were 3,142,158 Illinois customers purchasing electricity from competitive retail suppliers, and more than 60% of electricity usage in Illinois was served by competitive suppliers, the ORMD reports. There were 51 retail electric suppliers certified with the Illinois Commerce Commission to serve residential customers and 69 retail electric suppliers certified with the ICC to serve non-residential customers in Illinois.
 
Illinois is demonstrating for other states in the Midwest how vibrantly competitive retail electricity markets can provide demonstrable value to consumers and bolster economic competitiveness. Millions of Illinois customers are seeing real savings compared to what they would have paid the state’s two large utility providers.
 
Meanwhile, rates have been on the rise in neighboring Michigan and Wisconsin, where policy makers are actively considering what steps to take to stem steadily rising prices under traditional monopoly price regulation.
 
In this regard, Michigan has a real opportunity to steal the limelight from Illinois. Gov. Rick Snyder is in the midst of a yearlong review of state energy policy, in which the state’s decision to reverse course on competition and impose a 10% limit on customer access to competitive supply is under intense scrutiny.
 
Faced with rising costs, thousands of customers in Michigan who did not make it under the 10% cap have been clamoring for access to competitively priced electricity.
 
At a series of statewide meetings the governor held to help inform his energy policy blueprint for Michigan, industrial customers talked about how the lack of access to competitively priced electricity was harming their economic competitiveness. The CEO of Cadillac Castings told the governor that being denied access to the competitive market was costing his company $1 million every year.
 
It’s really quite simple. Competition works. It is the engine of our country’s dynamic economy, and consumers and economic competitiveness are better off in those states that allow competition to work.

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