Voters to decide power suppliers
aggregation on ballot
Voters in the following towns will be voting on the electric power supply question:
Antioch, Bannockburn, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Buffalo Grove, Deer Park, Deerfield, Fox River Grove, Gurnee, Highland Park , Highwood, Island Lake, Kildeer, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Lake Villa, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Lindenhurst, Long Grove, Mundelein, North Barrington, North Chicago, Park City, Riverwoods, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Park, Vernon Hills, Wadsworth and Waukegan.
Updated: March 29, 2012 4:07PM
Thirty-one Lake County communities -- inclduing Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills -- will vote on electric aggregation referendums March 20 that for the first time will give residents and small business owners the right to shop for electricity in a free market, just as you do for groceries.
“It’s all about saving money on your electric bill, ” according to Grayslake Mayor Rhett Taylor whose village has already successfully implemented an electric aggregation program that is very popular cost-saver with local residents.
Folks there expect to save more than $4 million during the next two years thanks to such a program. More than 80 percent of Grayslake’s voters approved the initial referendum last March.
“Our rates now reflect a 30 percent reduction from ComEd’s prevailing rates,” Taylor indicated. ”It’s a win-win situation. We in Grayslake are very pleased with our situation.”
Grayslake was an early-bird in taking advantage of a new state law that now offers municipalities a choice of competitively bidding among more than two dozen private alternative power providers, instead of just ComEd.
What does electric aggregation mean? It’s simply a cooperative pooling and joint purchasing of electricity by groups of municipalities. In Grayslake’s case, they have joined with the villages of Lincolnwood and Oak Brook to obtain their best rate on electricity. These rates fluctuate constantly and competitively.
A municipality, or groups of communities, join together and invite bids from selected alternative power providers. The low bid received must be lower than the prevailing ComEd rate. A municipal contract is then signed and service carried out for a specific length of time.
The program is purely voluntary. A resident is automatically included unless they choose to opt-out of the program and remain with ComEd. They can also sign their own personal contract with an alternative provider.
However, ComEd will continue to deliver all power through their extensive electrical grid distribution system, and they are also responsible for repairing power outages. That service will be shown separately on your ComEd monthly bill, along with the alternative power provider.
You may have noticed that alternative power companies have become very aggressive lately in been promoting their services. They hope to lock up as many customers in advance as they can so you will be under their contract before the municipalities finalize their arrangements this summer.