CHICAGO (CBS) — City officials and a utility watchdog group have requested a state investigation into some alternative power that may be tricking or confusing Chicago customers with their prices.
The Citizens Utility Board and Chicago city attorneys have teamed up to formally ask the Illinois Commerce Commission to look into alternative electricity companies that offer variable rate plans to customers who choose them over ComEd.
CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen said a lot of companies are acting appropriately, but some might not be, and consumers have called with complaints about prices that unexpectedly skyrocket.
“We would like an ICC investigation to give bad players a very strong, clear message: Either clean up your act or you risk being booted from Illinois,” Chilsen said. “We have some people who don’t even know that they’re on a variable rate. We have some who don’t know that their rate can change. We have some people who don’t even know that they’re with an alternative supplier until they see a strange company on their bill.”
The ICC said it also has received complaints about alternative suppliers’ rates. It warned consumers over the winter to read the fine print because, their rates could be going up.
The ICC has not yet said, however, if it plans an investigation.
Chilsen said one Melrose Park woman who was promised her electricity bills would be lower actually saw the supplier portion of her bill increase to six times more than what ComEd was charging.
“We want to identify violations of the Public Utilities Act. We want those violations corrected, and if necessary we want to weed out bad players,” he said.