Windy City Walloped By Higher Energy Prices…Again

Americas “Second City” is in Disarray After two decades of Mayor Richard Daley single handedly destroying the city’s finances, Chicago


Americas “Second City” is in Disarray

After two decades of Mayor Richard Daley single handedly destroying the city’s finances, Chicago turned to a man who they expected would put their great city back on the right path. Rahm Emanuel, whose previous public endeavors included congressman, advisor to President Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as a career as a successful investment banker, has arguably made things worse. From police corruption, to a looming second teachers’ strike, to its municipal bonds plummeting, to the streets crumbling. It seems as though Chicago is falling apart.

To add insult to injury, since Emanuel’s election in 2011, Chicago consumers also have the dubious distinction of paying much more for their energy than the rest of America. His lack of effect on Illinois energy policies has resulted in a sad statistic that hits Chicagoans squarely in their pockets.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics published that consumers in the Chicagoland area are paying 15.3 cents per kWh in January 2016. This price (for supply and delivery combined) is 14.2 percent higher than the nationwide average of 13.4 cents per kWh. To take it a step further, every January (except for 2014), Chicago area electricity costs have been higher than the national average by a margin of 17.8 percent or more.

Average Price of Electric Service

These statistics are based on an area of Illinois where consumers can actually control some of these costs. Commonwealth Edison customers have the ability to choose an energy provider that could potentially reduce their cost anywhere from 10% to 30% depending on the plan they choose.

In February of this year, the people of Naperville felt an 8.3% increase of their energy costs. These consumers are preparing for more electric rate increases each of the next three years. Naperville is not a deregulated area so its people do not have a choice to shop around for their energy supply. Unfortunately, they are at the mercy of their utility.

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ComEd Capacity Costs Increase

The Chicagoland area has recently seen an increase in their capacity costs due to an approved tariff. This was a direct consequence of the polar vortex. These increases come as a byproduct of an auction, which is held every year. The capacity auction is designed to help set electricity prices three years in advance. This plan was approved and implemented as a result of the bitterly cold winter of 2013-2014. The PJM ISO, the grid operator that maintains the lines that Chicago’s electricity runs over, claims to have had trouble maintaining power during this period.

However, some critics argue the electric grid did not really fail. They claim the grid was simply stressed during the polar vortex. This became a vehicle to line the pockets of generators like Exelon, (a Chicago based company) without stabilizing the energy grid. Exelon owns nuclear generation, like the Clinton nuclear station, that continuously ran during the polar vortex. Nuclear plants have equipment that don’t need to be weatherized to operate, so it is difficult to show how they could suffer weather-related outages

ComEd customers will see these cost increases as part of their supply portion of their electricity bills. Although these capacity charges are set in stone, the amount that customers ultimately pay for their supply will depend on where the cost of electricity is at that time. ComEd will set their standard offer for customers without a supplier. Customers only choice will be choosing a retail energy provider.

Ameren Customers Effected As Well

These rate increases are not only for the northern part of the state. The Illinois Commerce Commission has recently approved higher delivery rates for Ameren customers in Southern Illinois. Ameren, who is also the electricity utility, is set to increase the delivery of electricity by 106 million dollars. This will directly increase electric delivery rates by 11.4 percent.

These monies are earmarked for the utility’s energy modernization plan. This plan was designed to increase the reliability of consumer’s electric service and decrease power outages in the region.

This is another punch to the gut for Ameren customers who are still reeling from the 30% increase in electricity supply rates that took effect last June. The current price to compare for Ameren electric customers is over 7 cents per kwh. Right now most retail energy providers have offers between 5 and 6 cents.

This supply cost surge is due to an increase in capacity costs, which is the second largest component to consumer’s electric supply. These charges are paid to ensure generators are able to deliver electricity when the demand for energy is at its highest point of the year.

The increases felt by Ameren customers were so significant, that FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) ordered a formal investigation into the results of a power auction last spring that caused the energy price spike.

Illinois Choices

Energy consumers of Illinois have a choice to help control their overall energy budget. Through the “Plug in Illinois” program, which is regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission, customers can choose the retail energy provider they want to supply the electricity and natural gas they consume.

The confusing part is that according to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), only about half of the consumers have taken part in this competitive pricing program. Most experts assume this is primarily due to a lack of education on the benefits of the program, and with so many different providers and product offers, some consumers are simply overwhelmed by so many options.


That is where North American Energy Advisory can help!

Empowered by the dedication to educate customers on their energy supply choices, and then providing multiple energy price options, N.A.E.A. has made it their mission to act as an energy advocate for consumers. Our knowledgeable advisors help cut through the confusion to understand which supplier and product is best suited for the way they use their energy.


For more information, please call us at:


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Energy Professionals is committed to finding its customers the best possible rates on electricity and natural gas. Tell us your location and service type and our energy manager will connect you to the most competitive offers.

Switching to an alternate supplier is easy. There is no chance of service disruption, and you'll continue with your current utility for energy delivery and emergency service. Take a few minutes to discover your best offers, and enjoy the benefits of retail energy in your home or business.

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