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    In late December, the City of Chicago chose Integrys Energy Services to supply electricity to the city's nearly 1 million non-shopping residential and small business electric customers until 2015. Under the electric aggregation supply agreement, the city acted on behalf of its non-shopping residents by choosing a supplier that guaranteed lower rates than the default utility, ComEd.

    Customers are still able to shop around for their electric supply from a wide variety of retail electricity providers and many providers are jumping on the opportunity to undercut Integrys.

    Non-shopping customers are expected to see savings of up to 25% with Integrys, but several retail electricity providers are offering rates 4-12% lower than Integrys' rate. By shopping around right now, customers can lock in rates as little as 4.75 cents per kWh significantly lower than Integry's rate as well as ComEd's current Price-to-Compare of 8.319 centsper kWh.

    Electric heat users may be able to realize more cost savings by switching than standard residential and small business users. The rates negotiated with Integrys for both standard electricity (R) and electric heat (RH) are both lower than what ComEd is offering. Yet, the rate is the same for both types of customers, and many providers are taking advantage of this by offering even lower rates for RH customers.

    Customers can switch to a retail electricity provider of their choice at any time with no fees or penalties. Mark Pruitt, who oversaw the aggregation bidding process for Chicago, stated in a recent interview: "It's not's about owning the customer It's about providing an option that saves them money."

    Learn more about switching to a retail electricity provider in Illinois.