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Bill Would Drastically Change Way ComEd Charges Customers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A bill set to be in front of a state legislative committee Thursday could increase your electricity bill.

CBS 2's Marissa Bailey explains, the way you are charged for electricity could change dramatically.

Right now, you only pay for the power you use.

But if a new bill moves forward in Springfield, your monthly electricity bill could be based on the highest amount of power you use on any given day

The so-called "demand charge" would change the way that all residential consumers are charged for electricity.

The new pricing would look at peak electricity usage, Monday through Friday, in 30-minute increments, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Your bill will be based on the 30-minute period that's the highest.

"Consumers lose control over their ability to manage their bills with a proposal like this," said AARP spokesman Gerardo Cardenas. "This has never been done in the United States before."

"There's no way for the consumer to understand what they're being charged for, how much that they're actually using."

ComEd claims 60 percent of customers will see a drop in their bill and 75 percent will see less than a $3 change per month.

The company says this is more fair.

"If I'm using a greater portion in the grid, then I should be paying for more of the use of the grid than a customer who is not similarly situated," said a ComEd official.

ComEd says it has plenty of tools available to help people manage the cost of electricity.

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