Compare Illinois' Best Electricity and Natural Gas Companies

Choosing an energy provider in Illinois doesn't need to be difficult with help from IL Energy Ratings! Learn how Illinois energy companies work together to power your home so you can find the best deals! We've vetted and ranked a large group of energy suppliers so you can order with confidence.

To start finding the best rates right away, enter your zip code in the box and click the button.

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Who are the best Illinois electricity and natural gas providers?

These great electricity and natural gas providers we have available.

Energy Providers in Illinois

What is an Illinois Electricity Company

There are actually three different kinds of electricity companies in Illinois that work together to get the electricity to your home. Generally, you'll be interacting with an "Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers" ("ARES" for short), which provides retail electric plans to consumers and handles the billing and customer service aspects of your service. Behind the scenes, the generators and utilities will get the power routed to your home safely and reliably.

what do Illinois electricity generators do

Illinois Electricity Generators

Electricity generators build and maintain the power plants that feed power into the Illinois electricity grid, which is then sold to IL electricity suppliers. Because Illinois is part of two different regional transmission and market grids, electricity can come from as far east as New Jersey, Lousiana, or Manitoba in Canada. While Illinois makes most of its own electricity, it doesn't need to come from here.

what is a Transmission & Distribution Service Providers

Your Local Utility

Your local electric utility maintains the meters, wires, poles, and underground cables that bring the electricity from the generators to your home. Similarly, natural gas utilities that must manage and maintain their pipes. Utilities are also responsible for reading your meter and providing that information to your Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES).

what is an Illinois  competitive retail electric service

Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES)

These are the electricity suppliers that purchase electricity on the wholesale market from the generators and sell that supply to you. They make sure you are properly billed for the amount of electricity you use. They provide customer service, billing, and payment functions to you, the consumer. They also create different brands, plans, and products to meet your unique lifestyle needs as a customer.

MISO, PJM, and Illinois Commerce Commission

Illinois has three major electricity distribution utilities. Com Ed serves Chicago and most of northern Illinois. Ameren, meanwhile, serves most of central and southern Illinois. Lastly, several northern counties along the Mississippi River are served by MidAmerican Energy.

These utilities are part of two different regional transmission and market grids. Com Ed is part of the PJM Interconnection grid which also serves the Mid-Atlantic Region and Ohio. Ameren and MidAmerican Energy are part of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) grid. MISO serves most of the upper midwest, several south-central states, and east Texas.

These grids forecast electricity needs across their service territories and then coordinate with generators to make sure there is steady, sufficient power to keep everyone's lights on.

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) regulates providers of all kinds of utility services in Illinois and enforces consumer protection laws. Illinois law requires Illinois electric and natural gas utilities to offer default supply service that you can select if you don't want to shop for a retail supplier. While the ICC oversees the default gas supply rates for the state's natural gas utilities, the independent Illinois Power Agency (IPA) oversees default service rates for electricity offered by Illinois electricity utilities.

What is an Illinois Natural Gas Company

There are actually four different kinds of natural gas companies in Illinois that work together to deliver natural gas safely to your home. An Alternative Gas Supplier (AGS) supplies retail natural gas plans to consumers and handles the billing and customer service aspects of your service. Behind the scenes, natural gas producers, pipeline companies, and the local utilities make sure gas gets to your home safely and reliably.

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Illinois Natural Gas Sources

Illinois produces very little of its own natural gas. But because it's at the cross roads of interstate natural gas pipelines, gas comes into the state from the east, west, and south as far as Texas and Lousiana. Natural gas producers sell their gas either directly to natural gas supply companies or on the wholesale market. The cost of moving and storing gas for your local gas utility is added to the price of the gas.

what is a Transmission & Distribution Service Providers

Local Distribution Companies (LDCs)

These are regulated utility companies that are responsible for distributing natural gas to customers in Illinois. The LDCs maintain the natural gas supply infrastructure in their service areas. This includes both large pipelines and the local distribution network.

Alternative Gas Suppliers

These are companies that offer natural gas plans and pricing options to customers in Illinois. Customers can choose to purchase natural gas from one of these suppliers rather than their local distribution company.

Citizens Utility Board (CUB)

The CUB is an independent state agency that represents the interests of electricity and natural gas customers in Illinois. The CUB provides information and assistance to customers, and advocates for consumer protections in Illinois's electricity and natural gas markets.

Illinois Electricity and Natural Gas Utilities

These companies are primarily responsible for safely and reliably delivering electricity or natural gas to your home. Electric utilities must maintain their poles and wires while natural gas utilities look after their network of pipes and valves.

Other Providers

We have not vetted and do not sell plans for these electricity and natural gas companies in Illinois. However, they may still serve customers in Illinois and are included for historical and educational purposes.

How to Compare Illinois Electricity and Alternative Gas Suppliers

Each energy provider in Illinois tries to offer something unique to their customers. They could offer special products for your home that improve your energy efficiency. Or they might just try to get you a low rate with no frills! (Hey, who doesn't like a good deal!). When you compare these plans and products, think about what kinds of things are important to you - then we can help you find the right company and product for your situation.

Common Illinois Electricity Plans and Prices

Most Illinois retail energy companies offer the most popular kind of plan - a fixed rate 12 month plan. The 'fixed rate' means that the amount the energy provider charges you for each kilowatt-hour or ccf you use will be quite stable from month to month. The '12 month plan' means that they guarantee you that rate for 12 months, and in exchange, you promise to buy electricity or natural gas from them for the next 12 months.

There are other types of plans available as well, such as shorter 6-month fixed rate plans, month-to-month plans with variable rates, or even plans that can last for 2 years or more.

How Illinois Energy Ratings Rates Companies

We use our decades of combined experience in the Illinois energy market to evaluate Illinois energy providers on a variety of factors. We review customer service, plan selection, deposit policies, customer service quality, customer reviews, and other indicators to determine how a given electric provider stacks up against the competition.

After we compile the data, we boil it down to a few key areas, and give each area a score between 1 and 5, with 5 being best. Then we collate the scores and award a Gold, Silver or Bronze ranking for those providers.