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CUB says energy efficiency is where the real savings are

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As shopping for electricity suppliers becomes more expensive inIllinois, energy efficiency programs have emerged as the most reliable way to cut utility bills, replacing low-cost power deals that have become scarce since the early days of market deregulation, according to a Citizens Utility Board  analysis released Monday.

CUB's report, "Tipping Point: A Shifting Electricity Market andIllinois'Best Bet for Savings," shows how even the most basic efficiency program,CUBEnergySaver.com, has the potential to save Illinois energy users$153 milliona year.

"While there are still opportunities to save through electricity competition, shopping for an alternative supplier has become more of a gamble inIllinois," CUB Executive DirectorDavid Kolatasaid. "Efficiency programs like CUB Energy Saver are never a gamble. They are the best bet in today's market."

CUBEnergySaver.com, which gives homes customized money-saving plans, is among the most accessible of Illinoisefficiency programs—it's free and all customers can use it regardless of their power supplier. CUB's analysis of CUB Energy Saver vs. alternative supplier deals pitched door-to-door, online, by mail and by phone indicates a major shift in the market.

For example, CUB found that the average price offered by ComEd competitors marketing to individual consumers has increased 23 percent, from about6.7 centsper kilowatt-hour (kWh) inMay 2013to about8.2 centsper kWh on Feb. 25, 2015. That's higher than ComEd's price to compare: about7.6 centsper kWh through May. 

On the other hand, CUB Energy Saver has been helping consumers cut electricity waste by an average of nearly 4 percent. While the 9,000CUBEnergySaver.comusers have the potential to individually save hundreds of dollars a year, even average savings make a significant impact when expanded across ComEd territory.

Plus, CUB Energy Saver users who connect the service to their utility accounts can record actual kWh savings and earn points redeemable for gift cards from popular retailers.

The free service, managed by CUB and the software firm C3, based inRedwood City, Calif., features simple actions for homes on modest budgets, including installing efficient lighting and unplugging kitchen appliances. To join, take your utility bill, visitwww.CUBEnergySaver.com, hit "Register Now," and follow the instructions to link to your utility company account. 

Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. The nonprofit utility watchdog group has saved consumers more than$20 billionby helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds. Call CUB's Consumer Hotline, 1-800-669-5556, or visit CUB's award-winning website,www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.  

 

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