- Consumer advocates want Illinois regulators to require utilities in the state to offer time-of-use (TOU) electricity rates, saying the variable pricing will encourage lower consumption and costs.
- The Citizens Utility Board and Environmental Defense Fund submitted comments to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), asking regulators to explore how ComEd and Ameren could offer TOU rates as early as next year, Midwest Energy News reports.
- The groups say they are working with state regulators and utilities to gain greater control over peak energy load, increase electric grid resiliency, and achieve cost savings from energy efficiency.
Advocates in Illinois want utilities to offer TOU rates they believe will give consumers greater control over their energy usage and bills
"In order for the smart grid to work in Illinois, we need to give customers new choices that allow them to use power more efficiently and slash their utility bills," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. "The electricity market has become more expensive, so it's vital that ComEd and Ameren give customers more options."
Midwest Energy News notes that regulators have already called on utilities to consider time-of-use rates, but CUB and EDF believe they are not moving quickly enough.
While the variable rates allow customers to lower their power bills by running certain appliances at times when electricity is cheapest, the groups say benefits go far beyond participating households. Cutting energy use at high-demand times reduces stress on the power grid, they say, and offsets the need for new power plants.
"Power does not cost the same to produce every hour of the day, so why should it be the same price every hour?" said Dick Munson, EDF Director, Midwest Clean Energy. "Voluntary, time-of-use pricing plans could cut air pollution and electricity bills by allowing Illinoisans to simply run the dishwasher at night when more wind power is available — that’s a win-win for people and the environment."