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Electricity Aggregation Question to Go on March Ballot

Residents will vote on whether or not Hinsdale staff can consolidate the village's ComEd accounts for the purpose of negotiating directly with suppliers for lower rates.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to place a binding question on the March primary ballot that, if supported by Hinsdale voters, could lead to smaller electricity bills for the village's ComEd customers.

The question will ask whether the village should be able to consolidate all residential and small business ComEd accounts into one so that it can negotiate directly with electricity suppliers for lower rates. 

Village manager David Cook introduced aggregation at the board's Oct. 24 meeting. While ComEd would still distribute electricity with its infrastructure and be responsible for repairs and billing, the village would take bids for the electricity itself directly from energy suppliers certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

Oak Brook earlier this fall approved a two-year contract with an alternate supplier and secured a rate of 5.52 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), more than two cents less than the current ComEd rate of more than 7.7 cents per kWh.

The delivery service charges would all remain the same, as would the taxes attached to the energy. The electricity supply services, listed at the top of every ComEd bill, would be the source of reductions.

Cook showed at the Oct. 24 meeting that a household that uses 5,325 kWh in one month would pay $293.94 for its electricity supply charge with the Oak Brook rate, down from $379.99 with the current ComEd rate. The transmission service charge that totaled $40.74 on the resident’s recent bill, as well as the purchased electricity adjustment charge that totaled $18.21, would not be charged with an alternate supplier.

All-in-all, the resident's bill would have gone down from $623.13 to $478.13, according to Cook's calculations.

The window of savings opportunity is narrow, though, according to the village.

The current ComEd supply rates expire in 2013. They were first set with the state seven years ago, when the economy was in a better place, and it is believed that future rates will be lower. 

“In a year and a half, ComEd will no longer bound by those rates,” trustee Laura LaPlaca said in October. “They’ll be out competing in the market, as well.”  

Cook said now that the question has been approved for the ballot, the village will partner with Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC)—whose executive director David Hoover spoke to the board about the benefits of aggregation on Nov. 15—to educate Hinsdale voters about electricity aggregation. 

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