CHICAGO -- The city of Chicago and the Citizens Utility Board on Wednesday requested an Illinois Commerce Commission probe of the electric market prompted by reports of confusing offers from alternative suppliers, misleading pitches and prices up to six times higher than the utility rate.
The petition filed by CUB and the city calls on the ICC to investigate whether suppliers are complying with price-transparency provisions in Illinois' Public Utilities Act. The PUA requires companies to provide customers with "written information that adequately discloses, in plain language, the prices, terms and conditions" of their offers.
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Since 2010, more than 3 million Illinois consumers have switched to a company other than the regulated utilities, such as ComEd or Ameren Illinois, to supply their electricity. The city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection is investigating a number of consumer complaints and will prosecute those complaints involving consumer fraud. The CUB and City petition focuses on variable rate plans, which can change on a monthly basis.