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Chicago homeowners could get ZAPPED

Electric prices need not be confusing. The primary reason we have regulated utilities is for efficiency, no duplicate wires or pipes. Offering electric choice does not change this. Electric prices have always been controlled by rather confusing processes called tariffs (akin to IRS taxes) because it was, and is a regulated monopoly. THE REGULATORS are in charge of the process; utilities must prove they spent money according to the tariff so they can get it repaid. Customer choice does not change this relationship between regulators and the utility; it just adds a new player—the retail energy supplier.


Having energy choice need not confuse customers. The regulators need to continue balancing customer choice against their desire to have a regulated market without innovation or price volatility.

Realgy believes in open competition and easily understood explanations of energy offers. Realgy offers energy prices that show a savings compared to the utility, offers fixed pricing during seasons, and offers to beat or match any competitor’s offer.

Check out our current prices that will show you our price as compared to the utility for every market we serve.

Read the whole Chicago Business article, Emanuel’s power pact could zap Chicago homeowners.



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CUB warns of electricity market ‘rip-offs’

The Citizens Utility Board is an excellent watchdog organization. Their warnings and advice could not be more timely and on target.

Saving energy plays a significant role in saving the environment. When you use energy, you should know what it costs and that you are treated fairly.

There are two components to an energy agreement, price and terms. As the saying goes, what looks like a good deal is a good deal UNTIL it isn’t. This winter has certainly exposed the insider terms of energy marketers’ agreements and how cost recovery works for the utility.

In some cases, the energy suppliers provide “teaser rates” that are below utility rates but only last from 2-12 months. You are sure you will stay on top of it but time passes quickly and the next time you look at your bill, you could be paying two to three times the utility price. These “teaser rates” have a reset price that is purposely vague or that you cannot discover from any public information. Then when you want to cancel, it becomes a voice, logic, and perseverance test from the automated answering system.


As this year’s winter showed everyone that terms are important, a low rate is fine IF EVERYTHING is perfect, but that’s not the world we are in.

Realgy is proud of our price, our terms, and our customer service team. We know we offer tremendous value compared not only to the utility, but also to any other energy supplier in Illinois. In fact we put it in writing in our agreement; we call it ServiceMatchTM. It’s simple; we guarantee to beat or match any comparable proposal for your service.

Illinois is implementing real-time metering and municipalization so the complexity in energy purchases is built in. However, in our role as energy experts, Realgy offers energy service that delivers savings in an easily understandable manner as compared to the COMED or Ameren. Call our sales team today, and you’ll understand the difference.


Read the full Chicago Tribune article, “Watchdog warns of ‘rip-offs’ in electricity market

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COMED parent company to pay $6,800,000,000 for East Coast utility

As the late Harry Caray, iconic baseball announcer, might say, “Holy Cow!”.

Now we see that Exelon, the corporate holding company which owns the local utilities of Baltimore Gas & Electric and COMED, seeks ownership of the utilities around Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. This would more than double the customers they serve in COMED.

Utility acquisitions that are not in relatively close proximity to their current customers would appear to offer no benefits to either Exelon or Pepco customers.

This acquisition will be closely scrutinized and I am sure will it will be opposed by several groups.

Exelon previous proposed the acquisition of a large utility group in New Jersey from which they ultimately withdrew due to opposing parties.

I look forward to hearing the rationale of how each local utility (BG&E, COMED, Pepco, and Atlantic City Electric) justifies the way each utilities’ customers are better served by having a larger corporation in charge of it.


Read the whole Crain’s Chicago Business Article $6.8 billion Pepco buy makes Exelon an East Coast force



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Justices Back Rule Limiting Coal Pollution

The use of coal in electric generation is an issue where, on a national level, we should determine the optimum balance for the nation’s mix of energy used, air quality, and cost.

In producing electricity, coal plants emit carbon dioxide and other gases/particles that flow along the prevailing winds. These winds blow predominantly from West to East. Consequently, coal generation in the Mid-West accumulates higher concentrations of those emissions on the East Coast. This results in lower air quality and restrictions on what East Coast states can emit because their air is then already considered unhealthy.


The ruling by the Supreme Court will cause EPA to issue rulings that, when implemented, will try to rebalance coal usage (which is still our most abundant fuel) with air quality and cost.

One result will be greater reliance on natural gas for power generation. Generally the emissions are less and costs are less, but depending on a single source of energy (be it coal, wind, natural gas or nuclear power) puts the nation at greater risk of a single event causing widespread interruption.

Take this winter as an example; between January and March 2014 the phrase “winter vortex” was coined to describe a FIRST of its KIND EVENT for the tri-states of Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana. Such severe cold weather caused a simultaneous spike not only in natural gas (and propane) but also in electric costs because 30-60% of peak electricity is generated from natural gas. A move to retire existing coal-fired power plants and replace them with natural gas will further concentrate the impact that severe weather conditions or a natural gas pipeline disruption could have on consumers.

That balance will have to be agreed upon and with it will come a variety of different outcomes.

Please let us know what issues you think should be taken into consideration to achieve a workable balance.


Read the entire New York Times article, “Justices Back Rule Limiting Coal Pollution




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In Response to Chicago can’t beat ComEd price. So raise it?

Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to Chicago can’t beat ComEd price. So raise it?

Realgy DOES NOT support changing how the Illinois Power Agency buys power, so that our prices can be more competitive.

We already are:

  • Realgy has been below ComEd monthly pricing since January 2012, Twenty-one straight months in a row!
  • Our average commercial customer has saved $3,741.41
  • Our average residential customer has saved $90.02

We compete in serving our customers, not just with lower priced energy but smarter buying strategies.

This price question is a result of municipal aggregation, where cities like Chicago want to be able to raise money by adding a surcharge onto the electric rate customers pay, and still show savings compared to the utility!

Municipalities select an energy marketer as their preferred vendor and require they add a surcharge to their cost which they pay to the city. The surcharge provides no value to the customer or the energy marketer.

Perhaps instead of looking to raise everyone’s price of power they should just get out of the aggregation business or look to actually add value for their surcharge.

Check out Crain’s article: “Chicago can’t beat ComEd price. So raise it?


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In response to “How ComEd’s rate design benefits suburbs over the city”

Written by Michael Vrtis, President of Realgy Energy Services in response to Crain’s article “How ComEd’s rate design benefits suburbs over the city

ComEd is one member of a larger group of utilities called PJM. Each utility that makes up the power pool of PJM sets how its own method of collecting the costs of running the power plants and transmission lines. This makes the PJM pool a low-cost producer with great reliability.

PJM has notified its members (who voted for it years ago) about his change.

ComEd can allocate capacity costs in any manner it wishes; however, ComEd chooses not to change its collection approach which has stayed the same for more than 20 years.

ComEd doesn’t need smart meters to make this change, it needs smarter policy.

Allocating capacity based on aggregate demand of the load center serving a municipality is possible as well as more equitable than the broad and out-dated policy of ComEd.

Realgy already operates under PJM capacity allocation rules and we will continue to be the residential and business choice where energy is all about price, information, and service.

Check out  Crain’s article: “How ComEd’s rate design benefits suburbs over the city


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Electric Paint

A group of students from the Royal College of Art in London have created an electrically conductive paint. This electrical paint called “Bare Paint” makes it possible to apply liquid wiring to paper, plastic, metal, fabric and even skin.

Bare Paint

The electrical paint was even used in a video “Humanthesizer” by DJ and producer Calvin Harris featuring his song “Ready for the Weekend”. Dancers who had been painted with the electrical paint triggered audio loops from the song by dancing.

Read the whole story “Liquid lights and musical posters: Welcome to the world of electric paint


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In response to “ComEd rates are set to surge”

Written by Michael Vrtis, President of Realgy Energy Services in response to the Crain’s article “ComEd rates are set to surge

The headline is clear, the timing is a year away…so what to do?

Short-term power planning normally means a 10 year span because power infrastructure (such as pipelines, power plants, distribution lines, etc) have useful lives of 25 years.

So, while the talk about a year-to-year rate hike is not unique, it is certainly unnecessary.

This is the result of Illinois legislators giving ComEd approval for expenditures (which result in rate or cost increases) that the regulators (think of them as the technical advisors) can’t review, modify, or reject. The result is political involvement and rate shock.

Perhaps the 23% rate increase will provide benefit; that is usually how the regulators hold the utility accountable. However, when the politicians approved this increase, guess who will, in turn, hold the utility accountable? That’s right, not a soul.

What to do? Sign up with Realgy Energy Services. Realgy has delivered costs below ComEd for over 5 years. We will continue to provide a fixed price that will reduce this unnecessary rate shock.

Check out Realgy Energy Services ComEd rates for May 2013 and see how much you could be saving Or Call one of our Energy Brokers today 877-300-6747.

Read the whole Crain’s article: “ComEd rates are set to surge


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In response to “Quinn vetoes ComEd rate hike bill”

Written by Michael Vrtis, President of Realgy Energy Services in response to the Crain’s article “Quinn vetoes ComEd rate hike bill

Governor Quinn is sending a political message that should not pass through more thoughtful consideration of legislators. ComEd has already received approval from the legislators to bypass the ICC in their review and approval of their rates. ComEd has politicized the rate setting process instead of relying on the experienced technical and financial input of regulators.

While they may be successful in the short term, eventually the regulators will have to review their rates and then the balance will likely be restored. Allowing politicians to approve utility plans is not good policy and is even worse for rate payers.

Check out the Crain’s article: “Quinn vetoes ComEd rate hike bill

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For all our natural gas and electric customers not currently on a fixed price, Realgy offers ServiceMatchTM as follows:

ServiceMatchTMBuyer has the right to present all written offers to RES that provide pricing and terms for service under the Program. RES will match the proposed terms and pricing from all qualified electric or natural gas service providers. If RES cannot offer better terms or pricing or match the same terms and pricing, RES will transfer Buyer to the new electric or natural gas supplier upon Buyer’s written request at the end of the Term. ServiceMatchTM is not valid when Buyer has a Fixed Price.


Please be aware that ServiceMatchTM is not a new service.

Realgy offers this and other services including but not limited to PriceWatchTM and natural gas storage, to all our eligible customers.

If you have any questions regarding ServiceMatchTM, fixed prices, or the end of your current Term, contact a Realgy Energy Services customer service representative at 860-300-6747.

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