Currently, most residential electric customers in Illinois are on a standard fixed rate, meaning no matter when you use electricity, it costs the same amount. But, prices actually vary significantly depending on the season and time of day. During the cooler months, for example, electricity prices often remain below the standard fixed rate. And, rates are often less during off-peak times, like at night.
Across the country, dynamic pricing programs are providing customers with the option to manage their electricity costs by shifting some of their electricity use to times when demand for electricity is lower. Shifting electricity usage to lower priced hours helps lower bills.
CNT Energy administers two robust dynamic pricing programs. These programs allow participants to adopt smarter energy use habits, save money, and reduce strain on the electric grid.
With ComEd Residential Real-Time Pricing (RRTP), the price you pay varies from hour to hour, giving you more power to control costs. Currently, more than 10,000 households participate in the RRTP program and have saved on average over 15 percent on electric supply costs compared with what they would have paid on the standard ComEd fixed-price rate. Participants can check prices online or by phone and receive high price alerts via email, phone, or text.
Power Smart Pricing is for residential customers in the Ameren Illinois territory. The price participants pay varies from hour to hour and day to day according to market prices, but generally follow seasonal price patterns making it easy plan electricity use. Participants save by taking simple actions to conserve energy during hours when prices are higher. More than 13,000 households participate and since the program started in 2007, participants have saved a total of $9.1 million on their electric bills. Participants receive alerts via Twitter, email, or phone and can follow tips on Facebook.
CNT Energy has long been a leader helping residents reduce electricity use. In the 1990s, we explored local power generation and helped households benefit from emerging smart grid technology. In 2003, we launched the first program in the nation to allow residential customers to pay hourly electricity prices. Three years later, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation requiring major electric utilities to offer residential customers an hourly pricing option.
We continue to develop and share tools for both programs to help participants shift and save. For more on our role in reducing energy use, see this history from the Center for Neighborhood Technology.