Home Phone Pricey? Don’t Curb Calls, CUB Them!

January 18, 2011

If you use AT&T for phone service in your Chicago home, you may have noticed an increase in your bills. Now there’s a state-mandated alternative that could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

On January 3, AT&T raised its basic monthly fee in Chicago’s three “access areas” by $3 each, so:

Phone with word CUB over the state of Illinois and a lightning bolt.*Customers in the outer suburbs now pay $14.21 a month, a 27 percent increase

*Customers in the city and nearby suburbs now pay $10.74 a month, a 39 percent increase

*Customers in the Chicago Loop now pay $7.76 a month, a whopping 63 percent increase

But don’t worry, here comes CUB to the rescue.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) held a news conference Monday to inform customers of an alternative available called the Consumer’s Choice plans, created as part of a 2006 settlement between AT&T and CUB.

“Chicago callers must feel like an ATM machine,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. “The bad news is home phone rates have skyrocketed by up to 63 percent. The good news is that the Consumer’s Choice plans are rate-hike proof and can help you save hundreds of dollars a year.”

The Consumer’s Choice plans include three low-cost calling options that can protect residents from the increases:

*Consumer’s Choice Basic: Range from $3.05 in downtown Chicago to $9.50 a month in the rest of Illinois and includes 30 local phone calls.

*Consumer’s Choice Extra: $9 to $15 per month and includes unlimited local calls.

*Consumer’s Choice Plus: $16 to $19.70, includes unlimited local phone calls and two calling features, such as Caller ID or Call Waiting.

When combined with low-cost long-distance service, such as the Pioneer Telephone Rate Buster plan that offers rates under three cents per minute, CUB says the Consumer’s Choice Plus plan consistently beats out AT&T plans by as much as 45 percent.

Figure out which plan is best for you through CUBS’s Local Phone Cost-Cutter or by calling (800) 669-5556. This tool will analyze your AT&T bills and recommend the best CUB plan for you.

Last year, the tool saved more than 41,000 residents an excess of $8 million a year; about $200 per customer.

For more information on CUB and its efforts, visit CitizensUtilityBoard.org.

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