Residential electric suppliers poised to enter Illinois market

Chicago, IL, Nov. 8, 2006 — After a nine-year rate freeze and 20 percent rate cut, ComEd’s residential customers may soon have a choice of electricity suppliers. Already several retail electric suppliers have expressed interest in serving Illinois consumers, once ComEd rates increase to reflect market levels.

Three new retail electric suppliers filed this past week seeking certification from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), and four additional suppliers have been certified to provide service over the last few months.

BlueStar Energy Services, WPS Energy Services and Direct Energy have said they are considering entering the Illinois residential electric market. BlueStar is already certified by the ICC to provide service to residential customers, but has not begun offering it yet.

“Consumers want a choice of electricity suppliers. They know that the forces of competition drive prices down,” said Guy Morgan, CEO of BlueStar, a retail electric supplier based in Chicago. “Once electric rates increase to reflect the going market price, it will create an environment where BlueStar can compete to serve Northern Illinois residents.”

Residential customers have had the ability to choose another electricity supplier other than ComEd since May 2002, as part of the Illinois restructuring law passed in 1997. However, other suppliers couldn’t compete with ComEd’s artificially low rates. In fact, a June 2006 report from the federal government’s Electric Energy Market Competition Task Force found that the absence of market-based rates was the primary barrier to residential competition.

“In states where rates reflect the market, they see a greater amount of competition for residential electric customers,” said Anne Pramaggiore, senior vice president of regulatory affairs, ComEd. “Illinois customers could see many more energy choices after our electric rates come into line with market prices. ComEd supports a customer’s right to choose an alternate supplier.”

ComEd will continue to deliver the electricity to customers who choose an alternate supplier. Like the phone and natural gas companies, ComEd will continue to own and maintain the poles, wires and other infrastructure that brings electricity to customers’ homes and businesses, but another company would supply the power.

ComEd commercial and industrial customers currently can choose from 14 different energy suppliers. Already, about 60 percent of the load of ComEd’s largest business customers is served by another supplier.

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