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Illinois electricity deregulation began in 1997, giving Chicago based businesses the power to choose their electricity provider. The deregulated market opened energy supplier up to competition- forcing them to be more efficient as it relates to both service and price. Businesses of all sizes can compare energy plans from top energy suppliers and shop for the best available rates.
In most cases, Chicago businesses that take advantage of the competitive market can more effectively manage their monthly electricity costs by switching energy providers, plans and rates, as needed.
The Illinois Commerce Commission, known as ICC, is the public utilities commission of the U.S. state of Illinois, charged with the regulation of utility service providers, including electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, and transportation. ICC was created to assure the residents of Illinois have adequate, efficient, reliable, and safe public utility services at a fair price.
In doing so, the ICC impacts every business in Chicago – as it regulates all providers of utility services, including electric and natural gas companies, local and long-distance telephone companies, water and wastewater companies, rail and trucking companies. ICC is responsible for promoting the development of an effective, competitive energy market.
As a Chicago business owner, it is important to understand that the ICC is also synonymous with the “Plug In Illinois” energy comparison charts.
Utilities are the entities in charge of the operation and maintenance of the energy infrastructure, like wires and towers. The local utilities in Chicago are Commonwealth Edison and Ameren. They are responsible for transporting electricity from the generators to residential homes and businesses in this specific region.
Energy providers in Illinois, like Direct Energy and Public Power are the competitive energy retailers. Each energy provider buys energy from the wholesale market (the generators) and then re-sells it to consumers (homeowners, renters, and businesses).
In most cases, the consumer, the homeowner, renter, or business, signs a contract with an energy provider for a specific energy plan. The basic energy plan details the rate class, the energy rate per kWh, the contract term length (6, 12, 24, 36 months), and other contract terms like cancellation fee policy.
Energy choice, also known as energy market deregulation, allows Chicago business owners to select their energy supplier. Chicago has been a deregulated market since May 1, 2002.
Chicago, also known as “the windy city”, was organized in 1833. It is the third largest city in the United States with a population well over 2.5 million people. Chicago is located on the southwestern bank of Lake Michigan, making it the largest inland city in the United States.
Chicago is recognized as an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. In 2018, Chicago was the second most visited city in the nation, just behind New York City.
Illinois small businesses employed 2.4 million people and grew by 19,000 net new jobs according to the latest SBA Small Business Profile. The 2.4 million employees represent 46.4% of the total employees in Illinois. In total 1.2 million small businesses in Illinois make up 98.2% of the total businesses in the state.
Chicago has a very diverse economy, inclusive of manufacturing, printing, finance, and food processing (the city is still considered the nation’s “candy capital”). As a major inland port, Chicago is also a national transportation and distribution center.
Chicago has the third-largest gross metropolitan product in the United States. It has also been rated as having the most balanced economy, due to its high level of diversification.
See today's electricity rates for cities in Illinois.