Skip to main content

Electric Choice Basics

Your electricity service is made up of three parts: (1) the electricity itself is provided by an electricity generator and is sometimes referred to as electricity "supply" or "generation", (2) the "transmission" of that electricity from the generation facility to your local utility, and (3) the "distribution" or "delivery" of the electricity by the utility over the electric lines that lead to your business or home. In the past, the utility provided all three parts of your electric service (supply, transmission, and distribution).

Customers in the Ameren Illinois, ComEd, and MidAmerican service territories have the ability to choose who provides the supply portion of their electric service.1 Electric supply may be sold by either the utility or Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARESs). You may be able to save money by switching your electric supplier.

No matter who you choose to supply your electricity, you will continue to call your electric utility for outages, emergency services and questions about your residential service. The quality, reliability, and maintenance of your electric service will not change as it continues to be regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). The only difference is a new price for electric supply on your bill.

You have three choices for electric supply:

We encourage you to read Understanding the Utility's Electric Supply Price and the Frequently Asked Questions where the following is described in greater detail:

  • Switching is easy. No one will come to your home to flip a switch and there will be no disruption of service.
  • Ameren Illinois and ComEd do not make a profit on the sale of electricity. The utilities simply pass on the cost of purchasing electricity to its customers.
  • Since Ameren Illinois and ComEd simply pass on the cost of purchasing electricity to their customers, the utilities do not care if you switch to a different electric supplier. The utility will not treat you any differently from a customer that does not switch to a different electric supplier.
  • No matter who you choose to supply your electricity, you will continue to call Ameren Illinois or ComEd regarding any power outages or other service issues.
  • The ComEd Price to Compare can be found here.
  • Ameren Illinois' Price to Compare can be found here.
  • You may be able to save money by switching to an alternative  retail electric supplier. However, statements about savings are limited to the Price to Compare for Ameren Illinois or ComEd.
  • Ameren Illinois and ComEd customers also have the choice of Residential Real Time Pricing Programs which is a supply rate where customers pay electricity supply rates that vary by the hour.  While savings are not guaranteed, you can manage electricity costs by shifting your use of electricity to hours when prices are lower. More information about the utility Residential Real Time Pricing Programs can be found here.
  • Understand that statements about percentage savings are referring to the electric supply portion of your Ameren Illinois or ComEd bill only and not the total bill. You will pay the same amount of delivery service charges whether or not you switch to a retail electric supplier.
  • Beginning January 1, 2020, residential and small commercial retail customers shall have a right to terminate their contracts with alternative retail electric suppliers at any time without any termination fees or penalties.

Customers in Mt. Carmel Public Utility's service territories also have the right to choose an alternative retail electric supplier. However, no suppliers have registered with Mt. Carmel to serve these customers.

Electric co-ops and municipal systems may elect to enter the competitive marketplace to offer their customers choice, but they are not required by law to participate.

1 The Illinois Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997 restructured the state's electric service industry to allow a choice of electric suppliers. With electric choice, the electric supply may now be provided by different companies known as Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARESs).