ComEd Rate Increase Goes Into Effect

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They come with almost every new refrigerator. It's a gold star guarantee that plugging it in will cost less money than keeping the one you've had for several years.

"You'll pay for the new refrigerator if you're to buy one in energy savings in 2 1/2 years," says Brad Born, co-owner of Al Grace.

Al Grace Appliance employees say new refrigerators have better insulation and an improved freon cooling system. And that almost all appliances on the market are now built to save energy. They say all front load washers and dryers use up to 60-percent energy than before.

"So that all equates to less time and energy of heating of water drying times are faster because they spin the water out better," Born says.

But not all of us can afford new appliances. So ComEd is starting a "real time pricing" program that allows customers to see when it's cheapest to do things like set the dishwasher and throw in a load of laundry. ComEd spokespeople say evening hours are usually the best.

"Because more energy is used during the middle of the day, which makes it less expensive because you're using less sufficient generating equipment to produce that power," says Paul Callighan, ComEd External Affairs Manager.

Energy prices will fluctuate from day to day. And from season to season. So if you want to save some money on your electric bill, check out ComEd's website at within the next few weeks.

Some other important information, plug your TV and VCR into a power strip. That way you can completely shut it's power off when you're not using it. Also, if you're one to leave lights on at night. Put the light on a timer. One thing to be aware of, our next ComEd bill will have a combination of the old rate and the 24-percent increase. But they'll mark it that way so it doesn't seem too confusing.

We also have the option to phase in the rate increase by ten percent for the next three years. However we'll be charged an interest rate of three and a quarter percent. You have until August to sign up for this option, but you must sign up by March 22nd to get that rate on your April bill.