Questions and Answers about Electric Aggregation Referendums

We'll get new electric meters with the higher electric rates our legislators allowed Com Ed to charge.

Lots of places in Illinois are having electric aggregation referendums on March 20th.

They all will pass, because legislators voted to allow Commonwealth Edison and Ameren to raise electric rates and voters will rightly see that voting in favor of a referendum to allow bulk purchasing under the presumed expertise of local governmental leaders will result in lower rates.

Don’t trust your local government?

You can withdraw from the buying pool.

The referendums will cause party politicians problems, however.

When one goes to the polls, one will be asked what kind of a ballot one wants.

There will be these choices in most of McHenry County:

  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • Green
  • Non-partisan

If one asks for any of the three party ballots, the electric aggregation question will be on it.

But, if one asks for the non-partisan ballot, only that referendum question, plus a $1 million road bond question in Dunham Township will be on the ballot.

Non-partisan votes will not get to participate in the vibrant Republican County Board or Presidential delegate and “beauty contest” votes that will be on all the TV stations.

There is only one candidate on the Green Party ticket, Frank Wedig, who is again running for County Board in District 5.

There are no contests on the Democratic Party ticket.

This is from my Village of Lakewood. No reason to think it does not apply to all electric aggregation referendums.

Electrical Aggregation Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions

Recent statutory changes by the State of Illinois regarding the regulation of electrical suppliers have given residents the ability to purchase their electricity from electric suppliers besides Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). As part of those regulatory changes, municipalities may also bid the cost of electricity on behalf of residents and small businesses as a way to reduce electric supply costs. This process is commonly referred to as municipal aggregation. However, in order to proceed with electrical aggregation as an “opt‐out” program as described below, the Village must first gain the authority to do so from its voters through a ballot referendum. On November 8, 2011 the Village Board approved an ordinance to authorize placing such a public question referendum on the Tuesday, March 20, 2012, primary election ballot. The Villageʹs goal is to provide residents with as much information as possible to be fully informed of their options prior to voting.
Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) on electrical aggregation:

Q: What is electrical aggregation?

A: Electrical aggregation is a process which allows the Village to pool, or aggregate the electrical needs of residents and small businesses together, and to then seek competitive bids from electrical energy suppliers for the cost of such electricity (purchased by kilowatt hour) used by the Villageʹs residents and small businesses.

Q: Why pursue electrical aggregation?

A: By pooling, or aggregating the entire electrical load for Village residents and small businesses, the Village can seek competitive bids from power suppliers approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission. The larger, aggregated load puts the Village in a position to possibly obtain a more favorable electric supply rate for its residents and small businesses than is currently offered if you receive your electric supply from ComEd. Communities that have completed the aggregation process have received lower supply costs for their electricity provided to their residents and small businesses than the rate offered by ComEd.

Storm damage will be handled as Com Ed has in the past.

Q: How does the electrical aggregation process work?

A: Under Illinois law, the Village must place a public referendum question on the ballot asking its voters to give the Village the authority to aggregate electric loads for its residents and small businesses and to seek bids for electric power supply for such aggregated loads.

If the referendum is approved, the Village must then hold at least two public hearings to discuss and create a plan of organization and governance for its municipal aggregation program. Once such a plan is in place, the Village will prepare and publicize a request for proposals (an “RFP”) to provide an electric supply to the Village’s residential and small business users.

Only electrical energy suppliers certified and regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission would be allowed to submit proposals.

The bid that comes closest to achieving the goals of the aggregation plan could then be accepted by the Village Board.

However, if none of the bids meet the planʹs goals, there would be no obligation on the part of the Village Board to accept any of them, and the accounts of residents and small businesses within the Village would continue to receive power from ComEd at their then prevailing rates.

A resident or small business would have no obligation to participate in the Village’s electrical aggregation program and could choose to opt out of the program altogether.

Q: How does ComEd fit into the aggregation picture?

A: ComEd remains the distributor of electrical power, regardless of the supplier. If we switch to another power supplier, residents and small businesses will still receive their bills from ComEd, and ComEd will still be responsible for delivering the electric power and maintaining the electrical distribution system. The change will be virtually transparent to the end user.

Q: How does electrical aggregation impact me?

A: You will not notice a change under aggregation; you will continue to receive your bill from ComEd and ComEd will continue to deliver the electricity to your home or business. The only difference will be the potential for a reduced cost on the supply portion of your electric bill.

When high power lines break, Com Ed will still fix them.

Q: What are the benefits of electrical aggregation?

A: The most important potential benefit for residents and small businesses in the Village is that they may save money on electric supply costs.

Q: Do I have to participate in aggregation?

A: No. If this referendum passes, that only means that the Village may seek bids on behalf of its residents and small businesses but approval of the referendum does not obligate either the Village or you to actually complete the process. If, through such bidding process, the Village does identify a supplier with a favorable rate and decides to proceed by approval of an electrical supply agreement with such supplier, you still have the option to opt out of the Village’s aggregation program when the Village formally notifies its residents and small businesses of their opt out period. Specific instructions for doing so will be provided at that time.

Q: What happens if a municipality cannot purchase or negotiate lower electric rates than offered by ComEd?

A: Your account would stay at ComEd, and ComEd would remain both the provider of your power and the distributor of your power. Either way, ComEd would be your distributor.

Q: If a referendum is approved, how long will it be before the program is implemented?

A: State law requires that certain steps be followed to approve and implement any municipal electrical aggregation program. Our goal for the implementation of a program is the Summer of 2012

Com Ed employees will continue to maintain electric lines.

Q: What component of the electrical bill will aggregation effect?

A: Aggregation affects only the electrical supply services portion of the electric bill which typically accounts for 65% to 70% of the electricity bill.

Q: If I were to participate in electric aggregation, would I get two bills ‐ one from ComEd for delivering the power, and another from the company that provided it?

A: No. You will continue to receive your bill from ComEd.

Q: Who would take care of my power if there was a power outage?

A: ComEd, by law, will continue to distribute the power to your home or business and handle any emergency repairs and outages.

If you have additional questions, a more detailed FAQ can be found on the Village website at village.lakewood.il.us.


Comments

Questions and Answers about Electric Aggregation Referendums — 1 Comment

  1. In illinois, you already have the option of changing your electric provider, without waiting for you community to switch to municipal aggregation.

    You can do your own rate comparison by going to SecondCityGreen.com.

    Go green and save green!

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