If all goes well, La Grange Park residents will be saving a pretty penny on their electric bills over the next two years. On Tuesday night, trustees accepted a bid from First Energy, an Ohio-based electrical supplier, to supply the village with electricity for two years. First Energy was the lowest bidder.
La Grange Park residents who participate in the program will be billed 4.93 cents per kilowatt-hour for their electricity. The average household is expected to save about $347 a year off their bill, a savings of 42 percent.
Sharon Durling, a consultant from NIMEC who has helped the board through the aggregation process, said she believed the bids the board received from First Energy and six other aggregators to be "very favorable."
Trustees also voted to receive 50 percent of the village's electricity from sustainable sources and to add a civic contribution tax to the new rates. The tax is expected to add about $10 a year to resident's electrical bills. Trustee Marshall Seeder was the only trustee to come out against the civic contribution, calling it a back-door attempt to tax La Grange Park residents. Other trustees, disagreed and said the village should also benefit from electrical aggregation in a time when the village is looking for new ways to generate revenue.
Trustees were divided on how much, if any, of the village's electrical supply should come from green sources. Trustee Seeder voiced his support for 100 percent of the electricity to come from renewable sources because of La Grange Park's commitment to being a green community. Other trustees felt that voting to get 100 percent of the village's energy from green sources might not sit well with all residents in the village. In the end, trustees voted to approve getting 50 percent of the village's energy from sustainable sources.
Tuesday night's votes were divided between three areas of approval: accepting the bid from First Energy for a 24-month period and without an early termination fee, approving 50 percent of the supply to come from sustainable sources and to add a civic contribution, and to accept the bid with the previous provisions and a rate not to exceed 4.93 cents per kilowatt-hour. Trustees Patricia Rocco, Scott Mesick, LaVelle Topps and Board President Jim Discipio voted in favor of all three. Trustee Seeder voted against adding a 50 percent requirement and a civic contribution tax to the rate, but voted in favor of accepting the bid on both votes. Trustee Susan Storcel was absent at the meeting and Kozica has voted "present" on each vote before the board on electrical aggregation.
Kozica said following the meeting that he routinely voted present on the issue, instead of yes or no, because he didn't feel the board had enough time to consider the options around electrical aggregation. A vote of present, essentially a no vote, is considered to convey a voter not having preference for either approving or voting against a measure.
The board has been . In March, a referendum to allow the village to purchase energy on their behalf.
Residents of La Grange Park will automatically be enrolled in the program. Those who wish to stay with ComEd will be able to opt-out before the program begins, and will also be able to opt-out at any time without an early termination fee.
Little will change with the switch, except lower rates, Durling told trustees. Residents will continue to receive their bills from ComEd and they will continue to maintain the electrical supply to residents. In a worse case scenario, if First Energy was no longer able to provide power, the village would be let out of its contract and would pay the regular ComEd rate, Durling said. She added that should that happen residents would not see any change in their flow of electricity.
"Not even a flicker," Durling said.
Correction: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the votes of Trustee Marshall Seeder. A previous version of this story stated he voted against accepting the bid in the third vote of the evening. This was incorrect and the story has been updated to reflect Trustee Seeder's vote in favor of accepting the final bid package.