Save on your Electric and/or Natural Gas Supply Cost!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whether you are a condo owner, renter or building owner, energy can be a very large portion of your monthly budget. Now, however, with the deregulation of the Illinois energy market, you have options that can be explored to try and reduce some of these costs.

History of Deregulation

Electricity was deregulated in Illinois in 1997. Illinois residents and business owners were able to choose their electric provider in May, 2002 when Illinois’ market opened to about 4 million customers. Rate caps that discouraged suppliers from offering reduced energy rates to residential customers expired in 2007 opening up the residential market to Illinois customers. In 2011, Commonwealth Edison agreed to be the billing agent for the retail energy suppliers on Illinois residential and small commercial accounts, opening the market up even more to all of Illinois’ electricity customers.

What does this all mean?

Because electricity and natural gas are deregulated in Illinois, this means that Illinois customers now have the right to choose who they purchase their energy from. For example, Commonwealth Edison is the electric utility in northern Illinois. After deregulation, they are now strictly a delivery company. ComEd owns and maintains the lines and meters that the electricity travels over to reach homes, buildings and businesses. However, ComEd, by law, cannot profit or lose money from the sale of electricity. They are only allowed to profit from the delivery of the electricity to each customer.

ComEd will still sell its customers electricity but other Retail Energy Suppliers (RES) are able to sell Illinois customers their electricity and ComEd will delivery it over their lines. In addition, ComEd’s rates are set by tariff, whereas RESs can purchase their energy from the energy market at current market rates, which are usually lower than ComEd’s tariffed rate.

Commonwealth Edison remains your electricity delivery company. Whenever there is a blackout or a brownout it is generally a mechanical problem with ComEd’s delivery wires, meter boxes or other equipment. Any electric customer within the ComEd territory would call ComEd if they suffer a blackout or a brownout.

Municipal Aggregation

Municipal Aggregation is a program wherein municipalities, such as the City of Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, etc. have executed an agreement with a supplier to switch all of their small commercial and residential customers to their RES supply. These are Opt Out programs, meaning that these ComEd customers would have been notified by the municipality where they are located, and sent some sort of communication giving them the opportunity to opt out of the agreement and remain with ComEd.

If you had already signed an agreement with another supplier when your town or city’s Municipal Aggregation agreement went into effect, you would not have been switched to the city’s agreement.

The agreement with your city may be more expensive than ComEd’s price.

The agreement with your city may be subject to a termination fee if you exit the agreement before its natural expiration date.

It is vital to know the terms of the agreement that your city or village has agreed to prior to making any changes to your account. The last thing you want is to terminate an agreement and then pay a termination fee for that action.

Commercial, Condo Owner or Renter

The basic rule of thumb is that anyone who pays an electric bill or a natural gas bill is able to switch to a supplier of their choice. Within that basic rule are several considerations that a utility broker can help you with.

Kass Management has worked with Lower Electric, LLC, a utility broker, to reduce energy costs for many of its managed properties. Lower Electric was founded in 2001 and has helped more than 3,000 Illinois electric and natural gas customers manage their energy costs. Lower Electric represents many retail energy suppliers (RES) in Illinois and other deregulated states.

  • Lower Electric will analyze your current electric and/or natural gas bill.
  • Lower Electric will help you determine if you are currently under contract with another supplier and. If so, determine when you will be free to terminate that agreement and move to a lower priced supplier (RES).They will obtai
  • n competitive bids for your account(s) and explain the pricing to you.
  • They will guide you through the selection process and help you determine the best energy supplier to meet your needs.
  • They will implement the sign-up process and aid in a seamless transition to your new supplier.
  • They will assist with any billing issues and with any changes to your account during the contract term, such as a move or change of ownership.
  • They will notify you when it is time to start pricing your account for renewal.

Lower Electric is able to consult with building owners, condo owners and renters to determine if there are savings available on their utility costs. To get started, Lower Electric will need a copy of your two (2) most recent electric and/or gas bills faxed or e-mailed to them. They will also need your contact information including your name, a daytime phone number and an e-mail address so they can contact you for any further information they may need to proceed to price your account. They will go through the process outlined above and contact you with a comparison so you can see your potential savings. (An example of these comparisons follows at the end of this article.)

Due to the large number of properties that Kass manages, Lower Electric has negotiated a master agreement with one of its suppliers that allows Kass Management commercial accounts to join the agreement and take advantage of its master pricing. Individual condos and apartments will not be able to do this but can be signed with a supplier individually. Also, commercial customers may need to wait until their current agreement expires, if one exists, so that no termination fees would be assessed.

Our Recommendation

Kass Management is dedicated to helping its building owners, condo owners and renters manage all facility related expenses. To that end, we have had a long term and successful working relationship with Lower Electric. We encourage anyone who pays an electric or a gas bill to contact them and allow them to assist you in exploring the potential savings on your electricity and/ or natural gas costs.

Please find two electric comparisons illustrating the potential savings available to the accounts. Energy prices change daily so it is important to remember that these are just examples. Everyone’s savings potential is individual and distinct.

Lower Electric’s contact information
Lower Electric, LLC
Phone: 847-272-0700
Fax: 847-498-4873
Hours of operation: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm


Mark Durakovic
Principal-VP Kass Management Services Inc.