Shop Illinois Electric Rates and Compare Energy Suppliers
Illinois residents have enjoyed the option to compare and switch electricity plans since 2008, but the Prairie State embraced energy deregulation in 1997. Businesses had the ability to compare and switch first, taking advantage of this new, competitive energy market.
Today, both businesses and residents in Illinois can switch and save with electricity plans from several energy suppliers. Competition empowers customers to avoid seasonal rate changes and gives consumers more energy choices, including clean, carbon-free energy and renewable energy options.
If you want to shop and save but don’t know where to start, we’ll walk you through it.
Here’s all you need to know.
Table of Contents
- Energy Harbor’s clean energy option
- A brief history of Energy Choice and energy suppliers in Illinois
- A quick 101 on how energy reaches your home
- Compare IL electric suppliers’ rates
- Illinois electric utility companies
- Illinois natural gas utility companies
- How to find and switch to the best electric rates in IL in 6 simple steps
- Why choose Energy Harbor: The clean energy difference
- More about Energy Harbor
Energy Harbor’s clean energy option
Safe, clean reliable power
Simple, easy enrollment
Low affordable rates
Long-term price protection
A brief history of Energy Choice and electricity suppliers in Illinois
Only 17 states, including Illinois, enjoy some form of deregulation. Most of those states were inspired by the federal government’s Energy Policy Act of 1992. The goal of the legislation, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, was to promote energy efficiency, renewable and sustainable energy, and the development of alternative fuels. Highlights include:
- Setting energy efficiency standards for household appliances and other equipment.
- Providing grants and loans through the Department of Energy for renewable and sustainable energy projects, research, and development.
- Promoting the use of alternative fuels.
- Encouraging competition in the wholesale electricity market, providing utility rate restructuring guidelines, and supporting the development of independent power production.
When The Illinois Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law passed the Illinois legislature in 1997, Energy Choice arrived in the Land of Lincoln. The law turned Ameren Illinois Utilities, formerly Illinois Power and later Central Illinois Public Service Company, and Commonwealth Edison Company into utilities and allowed businesses to purchase electricity from Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES).
It wasn’t until 2002 that residential customers could take advantage of Energy Choice. That’s when rate caps expired and competition opened up. The Retail Electric Competition Act of 2006 further facilitated competition. By 2008, residential customers were switching to ARES. Today, nearly 100 energy providers help lower overall electricity prices and encourage competition.
A quick 101 on how energy reaches your home
Energy reaches Illinois homes and businesses through the interconnected work of three types of electricity and natural gas companies – generation companies, suppliers, and utility companies.
- Generation companies produce electricity via several methods, including sustainable and clean energy sources, like nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and others, and provide it to the grid. They also invest in infrastructure and maintain power plants.
- Suppliers, sometimes called alternative retail electric suppliers (ARES), buy energy wholesale from generation companies, primarily, and sell it to consumers. Suppliers also shop and compare, then pass savings along to customers, knowing they have the option to choose their electricity supplier.
- Utility companies operate local distribution systems that deliver energy to homes and businesses. Utilities maintain the grid, or the energy infrastructure that includes power lines, transformers, substations, and more. Anything that distributes electricity within their service territory.
Compare Illinois electric rates
Securing a competitive rate for electricity is one of the biggest advantages of Energy Choice. Customers can compare Illinois electric suppliers and select the right kind of plan to meet their unique needs.
To help residents find the best electric rates in Illinois, the Illinois Commerce Commission offers resources for comparing energy suppliers, as well as education and information through its Plug In Illinois Power of Choice website. The site helps customers by providing access to Price to Compare (PTC) rates, which make it easy to compare plans offered by energy suppliers in Illinois. The PTC rate represents the cost per kilowatt hour the utility charges for electric supply. By comparing this number to the rate offered by each supplier, consumers can determine which plan is best.
While the Price to Compare is helpful to determine whether an offer from an alternative supplier is competitive, it only addresses the supply portion of your energy bill. The cost associated with other components, such as transmission and distribution service and maintenance, are separate and set by your utility company. Including other costs and fees from utilities, residential customers in Illinois pay an average total of $0.15 per kilowatt hour on their electric bill.
Illinois electric utility companies
Two utility companies in Illinois are responsible for distributing and transmitting electricity to Illinois customers.
Illinois natural gas distribution companies
Six companies distribute natural gas to customers throughout the Prairie State.
How to find and switch to the best electric supplier in Illinois in 6 simple steps
If you’re ready to start comparing energy suppliers in Illinois – and potentially make a switch – here are six simple steps you can follow to ensure switching success.
1. Know your current budget
Knowing how much you pay monthly for electricity and natural gas – as well as how that price is determined – will help you make a more informed decision when comparing plans.
2. Determine whether you want a fixed or variable rate
Most electricity plans come in one of two varieties – fixed rate plans and variable rate plans. With a fixed rate, you pay the same rate each billing cycle through the plan contract, regardless of fluctuations in the energy market. The price you pay for electricity could shift significantly from month to month with a variable rate plan, depending on market prices. Beyond rate, the energy provided by clean and green energy plans could save you money over the long term.
Learn more about the pros and cons of fixed-rate and variable-rate plans by reading The Truth About Variable-Rate and Fixed-Rate Plans
3. Choose a short-term or long-term plan
Short-term plans typically last 6 to 12 months. Long-term plans can extend beyond 18 – even up to 48 months. Short-term plans are best if you regularly shop for new rates. Long-term plans lock in a great rate for a big stretch of time.
Long-term fixed-rate plans also provide price stability and protection from potential price increases in the energy market. With a fixed-rate plan, you can budget your energy expenses with more certainty. Additionally, long-term fixed-rate plans can offer peace of mind and reduce the stress of constantly monitoring and shopping for new energy rates.
4. Check for incentives
Some energy companies offer incentives to entice you to make the switch. Make sure you don’t miss out on those offers before you switch energy companies. Incentives range from gift cards to energy-efficient products and everything in between. These incentives can make the switch to clean energy even more attractive and financially beneficial.
5. Find an energy supplier that matches your needs
When researching energy suppliers, it's important to choose a plan that matches both your individual values and your budget. Start by knowing how the energy you’re using now is generated. Is it created by a plant that burns fossil fuels? Fossil fuels have an incredibly damaging effect on our climate, as most of us know. If you are environmentally conscious, for example, you may want to consider renewable and clean energy sources or evaluate the environmental impact of each supplier. Read reviews, visit social media, and take the time to learn more about each energy company. The right research will reveal the best Illinois energy rates for your needs.
6. Make the switch
Making the switch to the new provider is simple. In fact, your new supplier will manage the entire process with your electric utility company.
No matter who your electric supplier is, local utility companies remain responsible for the service and maintenance of the electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure. All outages and downed power lines should be reported to your local utility immediately.
If you plan on moving soon, find out which service areas are covered by your supplier. If they offer plans in your new area, they may be able to help transfer service.
Still have questions about how to switch? Check out How to Choose an Electricity or Natural Gas Plan to learn more.
Why choose Energy Harbor: The clean energy difference
When it comes to climate change, carbon emissions from fossil fuels are “by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions,” according to the United Nation’s Climate Action task force.
Because generating electricity via nuclear power is a carbon-free, zero-emission product, it is defined as a clean energy resource. One that is as clean as renewable energy, according to the International Panel on Climate Change. Nuclear power avoids more than 471 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, nearly equivalent to removing 100 million passenger cars from the road. By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we can improve air quality and help mitigate climate change.
It’s more than that, of course. Nuclear energy produces more electricity on less land – about 50 acres – than any other clean-air source. To produce the same amount of electricity as a 1,000-megawatt nuclear facility, you would need more than 3 million solar panels, says the U.S. Office of Nuclear Energy. [HK1] You'd need 1,500 acres to build that solar farm.
Nuclear power also produces a fraction of the physical and chemical waste other energy resources do. Electricity generated from a typical 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant, which would supply the needs of more than 1 million people, produces only three cubic meters of “vitrified high-level waste” per year, according to World Nuclear Association. By comparison, a 1,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant produces about 300,000 tons of ash and more than 6 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, says the organization. In fact, the physical waste produced by nuclear fuel in the U.S. over the last 60 years would fit on about 10 yards of a standard football field. And in the future, much of this waste will be reprocessed and recycled.
Energy Harbor is proud of its ability to offer zero-carbon energy plan options that empower consumers to contribute to a clean energy future.
More about Energy Harbor
Energy Harbor is a retail energy supplier, delivering carbon-free and green electricity plans to homes and businesses across multiple States. Our plans provide long-term fixed price protection against fluctuating energy prices.
Energy Harbor provides dependable, affordable, carbon-free electricity to Illinois homes and communities.
Good is subjective when it comes to kWh rates, especially since they regularly fluctuate with the energy market. It’s better to ask yourself what type of electricity plan is right for you. Are you looking for affordability or stability? Do you want a clean energy plan? And how much does customer service matter to you? All these factors go into choosing an energy plan that’s right for you.
Once you know, compare rates between electricity suppliers in Illinois and choose the rate – and the company – that best matches your goal.
Illinois residents spend around $96 per month on electricity, nearly $1,152 a year. That’s less than the national average - $1,987 per year. The average kWh in Illinois is about 13¢, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association.
Because Illinois is an Energy Choice state, the provider with the best electric rates can change based on changes in the market and the wholesale price of electricity. By comparing rates through Illinois’s Plug In Illinois Power of Choice website regularly, consumers can find a provider that best suits their needs – or offers the best rate at that particular time.
Yes. Illinois is an Energy Choice state, giving consumers the freedom to shop and compare energy rates and switch electricity suppliers when they choose.
The provider with the “cheapest” rate fluctuates with the market, but sometimes “cheap” isn’t best. Instead of looking for “cheap rates,” adopt a “best rate” mindset. Consider different factors beyond price. How does this rate affect my budget? Will my rate change month to month? Is my energy choice harming or helping the planet?
Want to know more? Check out How to Get the Lowest Energy Rates Without Being ‘Cheap’
Washers, dryers, and dishwashers together consume the most energy in an average Illinois home. The reason? Heating water. Conserve a little energy – and maybe a little money – by running these appliances off-peak hours, typically overnight.
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