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|Managing Energy Usage to Save on Power Bills
|Electricity used to be much more affordable in Illinois, but a state regulatory agency says those days are gone and it might be time for customers to take more control over what they are paying.
A couple of groups think they know a way to save on energy bills, especially at a time when utilities Ameren and others recently announced customers can expect their winter heating bills to go up by as much as 25 percent. Some customers last winter were forced to cope with bills that in some cases tripled.
Bob Lieberman, a member of the Illinois Commerce Commission, is pushing the major utilities to encourage the use of smart meters and hourly pricing for electricity usage. He says customers can save 10 to 20 percent on their bills, plus they'll use less electricity because they're paying attention.
"The dilemma we have is we've never had to think about this because electricity has always been cheap, and for the last ten years it was fixed. So one of the interesting things that happens with these new technologies is people become aware of how they use it."
The Commission is also asking Ameren, like it previously asked Com Ed, to make a better effort to explain how new technology and hourly prices can drop costs.
Illinois last year became the first state to require utilities to offer hourly rates. Customers who want to join the program will have to pay a small monthly fee, then they track electricity usage on a smart meter.
Those customers can find hourly rates on the Internet. Ameren customers can go to www.powersmartpricing.org.
|09 30 08 by Newsroom
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