CHICAGO (CBS) — Switching electric companies is no longer the big bargain it used to be, according to a new report from a consumer watchdog group.

A couple years ago, you could save decent money on your electric bill merely by switching to an alternate energy supplier, but Citizens Utility Board spokesman Jim Chilsen said not anymore. That is because those companies have started hiking rates, and ComEd has gotten out from under an expensive contract.

“Energy efficiency is never a gamble, but what we’re finding is that shopping for an alternative supplier has become a much bigger roll of the dice,” he said.

CUB was scheduled to release new findings on the impact of energy efficiency programs and alternative energy suppliers on Monday.

Chilsen said saving energy is now the best way to save money.

“Simple things like changing light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs can save you a lot of money. Simple things like turning off the coffee maker in the morning, after you’re done brewing coffee, or unplugging appliances in the kitchen can save you a lot of money,” he said.

The CUB Energy Saver website offers consumers ways to save money on their energy bills. Users can even win gift cards by lowering their electric bills.

Chilsen said the potential savings in northern Illinois amounts to $153 million a year.