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Ratepayers could save by locking in to low energy prices, study finds

A new study conducted by a Washington D.C.-based organization found energy customers could collectively save huge amounts on energy expenses in the coming years if they switched providers to use long-term contracts.

According to the study, released by the American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), the current benefits of low-price natural gas may not be long-lasting. To prepare and make the most of the current low prices, customers in states where energy deregulation laws have been implemented should compare electricity rates and find the most affordable price.

Likewise, electric generation facilities that use natural gas as a source of power should also look to lock in low rates.

"The once-in-a decade opportunity we see for electricity generators to secure affordable gas over the mid- to longer term is similar to the historic opportunity that homeowners and businesses now have to refinance mortgages at today's record low interest rates," said Gregory C. Staple, CEO of ACSF.

With customers seeing more options than ever in terms of energy pricing, many websites have been created to help customers compare electricity rates. In Illinois, consumers can now compare side-by-side how much utilities Commonwealth Edison and Ameren are charging per kilowatt-hour compared with retail energy providers.