Power Smart Pricing - A Smart Electricity Rate from Ameren Illinois



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What is Power Smart Pricing?

Power Smart Pricing is an hourly electricity pricing program for residential customers served by Ameren Illinois. The price you pay for electricity will vary hour by hour based on actual market prices.

How does it work?

Power Smart Pricing uses “day-ahead” prices, meaning the price for each hour of the day is set the night before. Your bill is calculated using the hourly, day-ahead market prices and your corresponding hourly usage. If you are able to shift your electric usage to different times of the day you can take advantage of lower priced hours. You can manage your electricity costs by using energy wisely during hours when prices are higher.

How can it help me manage my electricity costs?

The best way to manage your electricity costs is to shift some of your usage from higher priced hours of the day to lower priced hours – typically nights and weekends.  During the cooler months of the year, prices have historically remained low most hours of the day, with a small increase in prices in the morning and again in the evening.  In the summer months, hourly electricity prices tend to be highest in the afternoon.

When is the hourly price of electricity low?

The hourly price varies each day, but prices tend to follow predictable, seasonal patterns.

Most of the time, the hourly price is lower than the standard-fixed rate price. Prices tend to remain low during the fall, winter, and spring. Higher prices are most likely to occur during the summer on hot weekday afternoons.

How much could I save?

Since the program started in 2007, customers who signed up for Power Smart Pricing have saved an average of more than 15% on the electric portion of their bills compared with what they would have paid on the standard rate. Individual savings vary based on customer’s usage and market conditions. The more you can shift electric usage to lower-priced times, the more you could save with hourly pricing.

What are the other benefits of Power Smart Pricing?

Shifting usage to lower priced hours helps reduce peak electricity demand, which eases stress on the power distribution system, making service more reliable for you and your community. Shifting electricity use could also help reduce the need to build or operate additional power plants, contributing to a healthier environment.

Will I still be an Ameren Illinois Customer?

Yes. Power Smart Pricing is an electricity supply option from Ameren Illinois. If you sign up for Power Smart Pricing, Ameren Illinois will continue to supply and deliver your power, respond to service calls, and issue your bill. You will receive additional program support from Elevate Energy, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Illinois residents save energy and money. Elevate Energy will provide personalized information, services, and tools to help you manage your electricity costs.

Is Power Smart Pricing right for me?

Power Smart Pricing is likely to be a good option if:

  • You spend more than $50 per month on electricity or use more than 350 kWh per month.
  • You can make some simple adjustments to how and when you use electricity during higher priced hours. For example, you can do laundry and run the dishwasher at night and on weekends when electricity prices are low.

Electric vehicle owners who charge at home are generally a good fit for the program since hourly prices are typically low during the overnight hours.

Power Smart Pricing is only available to customers who purchase their electricity supply from Ameren Illinois. Customers who are interested in Power Smart Pricing but currently purchase electricity through another supplier should check with that supplier regarding contract terms and requirements before enrolling in the program.

How can I track hourly prices and my use?

You will receive information and support to make it easy to manage your costs.

Each evening, prices for the following day are available online and by phone. You will receive day-ahead alerts (by email, phone, or text message) to let you know in advance when prices will be high (typically during summer months only).

Online tools will help you understand and manage your electricity use. A support team of Power Smart Pricing specialists is available to answer questions and help you get the best possible value from hourly electricity pricing.

Is there a fee?

Customers who select Power Smart Pricing will be charged a monthly participation fee of $2.25. This fee will be included in your electricity bill. Even after paying this monthly fee, Power Smart Pricing participants have saved an average of more than 15 percent on the electric supply portion of their bills.

How long do I have to stay in the program?

You can leave Power Smart Pricing at any time by contacting us or by signing up with a Retail Electricity Supplier (RES). However, we highly recommend you remain in the program for at least one year as the pricing pattern and your usage change with the seasons. For example, you may see lower savings in the summer, and then see higher savings when the weather cools down. If you leave Power Smart Pricing, your account will be unable to rejoin an Ameren Illinois hourly rate for one year (12 billing cycles).

What will my bill look like on PSP?

Some of the individual line items and charges are the same both for Power Smart Pricing participants and for customers on the standard-fixed rate. Some line items are different, or are calculated based on different rates. All residential electric service bills include three main sections: 1. DS-Residential (DS-1); 2. Electric Supply; and 3. Taxes.

1. The DS – Residential (DS-1) section will remain the same with the exception of the two following additions:

  • A Rider PSP – Power Smart Pricing notation
  • The $2.25 Participation Charge (see “Is there a fee?” FAQ for an explanation of this charge).

2. The Electric Supply section will change from Basic Generation Service (BGS-1) to Real-Time Pricing (RTP-1). Some of the charges in this section will remain the same on RTP-1, and others will change or will be calculated differently. The following line items will appear on your bill:

  • The Purchased Electricity Adj and Rider PER Supply Cost Adj charges will remain the same on RTP-1 and on BGS-1.
  • The Summer (or Non-Summer) Energy Charge that appears on the BGS-1 bill will be replaced by two charges: the Day Ahead Energy Charge and the RTP Supplier Charge.
  • The Day Ahead Energy Charge will be the sum of your hourly electricity use multiplied by the corresponding hourly prices. You can log in to your online account anytime to view details about your hourly electricity usage. Your high price alerts will make it easier to manage the Day Ahead Energy Charge portions of your bills.
  • The RTP Supplier Charge covers the costs of the additional services required for providing electricity. The RTP Supplier charge rate is a cents per kWh value and during non-summer months (effective 1/1/2016) is only applied to your first 800 kWh of usage during a billing period. During the summer months the RTP Supplier charge rate is applied to all kWh during a billing period. The charge rate typically changes between the summer (June through September) and non-summer months (October through May). Any updates or changes to the charge rate will be posted to the Power Smart Pricing news page. Note that the RTP Supplier Charge could be as large as 50 percent of the Day Ahead Energy Charge for PSP customers. On BGS-1 bills, this charge is factored into the Energy Supply Charge, so the effect on PSP savings should be minimal. You can reduce the impact of the RTP Supplier Charge by using electricity efficiently throughout the year.
  • The Transmission Service Charge will be calculated slightly differently for Power Smart Pricing participants than for customers on the standard-fixed rate (BGS-1). For customers on the standard-fixed rate, the Transmission Services Charge is based on total kWh used in the billing period. For Power Smart Pricing participants, the Transmission Service Charge is based on their individual electricity use during the highest system peak demand hour of the billing period. The system peak hour typically occurs between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on hot afternoons in the summer, and between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the winter. In the spring and the fall, the peak hour times could follow the summer or the winter pattern, depending on the weather. As a result of the different charge methods, the charge for Power Smart Pricing participants could be higher or lower than it would be on the BGS-1 rate. You can reduce your Transmission Service Charge by using energy wisely when electricity demand and prices are high.

3. The Taxes section will be the same for both Power Smart Pricing and the standard-fixed rate.

How is the hourly price of electricity set?

As a Power Smart Pricing participant, prices you pay will vary from hour to hour, depending on the actual market price for electricity. The prices are set a day-ahead by the hourly wholesale electricity market run by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Follow the link to learn more about the Midcontinent ISO.  www.misoenergy.org