Poof! Half a Billion Dollars in Residential Electricity Saving Gone Conspiracy Theories Abound

This past Friday ComEd filed their new rates for residential electricity service – 4.6¢/kWh – for the next year starting with the June 2013 billing period. Normally lower electricity rates would be good news, but for the over 2.2 million of ComEd’s that have left the safe harbor of ComEd to pursue lower electricity rates with third party suppliers, it may be viewed quite differently. This “good news” could adversely affect their home economics as the true impact of the new rates is understood. Many of these “ComEd defectors” have calculated hundreds of dollars in savings by their proactive actions and they were counting on these savings for “trips to Florida and extra tanks of gasoline.” Now with their savings in jeopardy will they have to adjust their consumption expectations for the coming year? Was there a conspiracy to reduce electricity prices, with those in power knowing full-well what would happen if they lowered electricity rates?

So how much less will residents be saving?

ComEd’s current rate for residential electricity is 7.5¢/kWh – 2.9¢/kWh more than the new rate. And the average ComEd residential customer uses 8,000 kWh/yr. Doing the math, that comes out to $232/yr in savings gone. While $232/yr is probably less than your cell phone bill, multiply it by 2.2 million ComEd customers that are on third party electricity supply and we’re talking about over $500 million in savings ripped from the region’s economy. Most of these savings would probably have been spent on retail items, food and entertainment where each million dollars spent can support 2.2 jobs. Again, doing the math, that would mean 1,100 fewer jobs created due to the loss of electricity supply savings. Or worse yet, these jobs may have already been created due to the expectation of savings, and now 1,100 more people will find their way onto unemployment insurance.

So who should compensate residents for the “lost savings?” There are many who were involved in this conspiracy to reduce electricity prices and the veil needs to be pulled back to provide complete transparency. This needs to be investigated fully. We imagine that our elected officials, the ICC and CUB will get involved and there will be investigations, studies and maybe some lawsuits in our future. Stay tuned.

Energy NewsFlash — April 2013