Despite hesitancy on the part of some trustees in La Grange Park, the Village Board passed an ordinance on Tuesday night to put a referendum on the ballot in La Grange Park that will ask voters to allow the village to enter into a opt-out electrical aggregation deal, with the hope of saving resident's money on their electric bills.
Trustee Rimas Kozica said the board was in a "precarious situation" of having to move forward quickly with the plan, but also not wanting to miss the opportunity to save residents money.
The board first heard a proposal for the plan at their Nov. 22 board meeting when representatives of the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC) presented an opportunity for La Grange Park to enter in a joint-purchasing agreement to save residents 20 percent off their electrical bills. If La Grange Park passes the referendum, it will join 19 other communities including Oak Brook and Wood Dale who are currently in NIMEC's group purchasing collective and started seeing lower rates in August.
La Grange Park trustees had to move quickly to approve the referendum before Dec. 31 in order to get it on the Village's ballot in March. If approved by voters, the Village will begin soliciting rates in June after ComEd releases its new rates in May. The new rates would go into effect in August or September, Sharon Durling, a NIMEC representative told the board.
At the Nov. 22 board meeting, Dale Hoover, president of NIMEC told trustees that the collective works as a "matchmaker" for the village and electrical suppliers. The firm's fee will be included in the rate agreement with the electrical provider and not charged directly to consumers.
The saving are so high because NIMEC uses the power of group buying to get deals on electrical rates, Durling told trustees. Residents can expect to see a savings of about $175 a year, with small businesses seeing a savings of $6,000 off their electrical bills, Durling said.
Residents will see little change other than a lower bill, NIMEC representatives have told the board. Residents would continue to receive their bills from ComEd, but with a new provider listed on them.
If a resident chooses to stick with ComEd or go with another supplier, they will need to opt-out of the program by contacting the supplier. Residents who have already made the switch will not be included in the group rates, but can also opt-in to the program to get the new competitive rate.
According to NIMEC, over 100 communities are estimated to put an electrical aggregation referendum on their March ballot. Communities will be grouped together by NIMEC depending on the length of the contract they want and also whether they want a "Green" or "Brown" option for the source of their electricity. A green option, for example, would be more expensive, but would receive more of it's electricity through environmentally sustainable sources such as wind or solar. NIMEC would use these community collectives to solicit the utility rates on their behalf.
Ultimately, the board voted 5-0 with Trustee Rimas Kozica voting present to approve the referendum.
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