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    After enjoying two years of low electricity costs, some Illinois residents will experience a 30 percent increase in their electric bills this winter.

    ComEd is taking over both sides of the electricity business: The side that supplies the electricity and the side that makes sure it lights up your home.

    In recent years, third-party companies began selling cheaper electricity after the state said it could despite using ComEd power lines to deliver it.

    Unfortunately, companies like First Energy Solutions Corp. and Verde Energy say they cannot continue to compete against ComEd's rates. Thus, rates should be back to 2012 levels and a $50 bill will soon rise to the mid $60 level.

    “The electricity market is not unlike gas market. Some days gas is at $3.60 and a few days later it could be $3.80,” said Diane Francis, a spokeswoman for First Energy Solutions. Smaller suppliers simply are not able to produce or buy enough to resell less expensive power, she added.

    Between the two municipalities, an estimated 15,000 customers received their electric power from First Energy Solutions and Verde Energy and will have saved $5.2 million for the 12-month period ending in August.

    In the past two years, Kankakee residents had about $400 shaved off their electric bills and in Bradley, the savings reached $380.

    The switch back to ComEd requires no action from residents, just as the switch to an alternative supplier required nothing from users.

    Four suppliers bid to serve Kankakee’s estimated 8,000 residential customers, but all were significantly higher than ComEd. Four bidders also sought to serve Bradley’s approximate 7,000 customers.

    Kankakee residents currently are paying 5.60 cents per kilowatt hour. In Bradley, the rate is 4.74 cents.

    Both Kankakee Mayor Nina Epstein and Bradley Mayor Bruce Adams said they will continue to contract with a consultant to monitor what is taking place within the supply industry.

    “We knew the gap was closing, but we are going to look at this every year,” Epstein said. “If we can save residents money, we’ll do it.”

    Adams said much the same. “We’ll go back to [ComEd], but we’re going to continue to look. When we can save residents money, we will do it.”

    The two-year contract Kankakee County engineered on behalf of several smaller municipalities including Aroma Park, Bourbonnais, Manteno, Momence, Herscher, Grant Park, Chebanse, Essex, Hopkins Park, Reddick, Sammons Points and Sun River Terrace, does not expire until March 2015, said county board Chairman Mike Bossert.

    The consultant for that deal also was First Energy.