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Illinois seeing greater competition in electricity providers

Residential customers are finally beginning to see lower electricity rates because of increased competition in Illinois, according to

Illinois began implementing electricity deregulation nearly 15 years ago, but many in the state did not see substantial benefits for much of that time. Limitations on the rates offered by utility companies kept electricity prices well below their market costs, making it difficult to operate utilities and nearly impossible to offer customers a choice between electricity providers.

The end of these limitations in 2007 has spurred a number of electricity companies from around the country to enter the state. Now Illinois residents can compare electricity rates from several companies, and the news source notes that in general the new competitors are selling themselves on lower electricity rates.

Some questions have been raised as to whether these savings will continue as the utilities react recent changes in the market.

"Only time will tell how successful we are and how successful the marketplace is," said David Fein, vice president of energy policy in the Midwest and Pennsylvania for Constellation Energy, told

Between January and December of last year, the number of people switching electricity providers grew more than 190 times to reach nearly 262,000 people, according to