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Village Looking to Negotiate Electric Rates, Will Put Referendum on the Ballot

The village is looking to band together with 17 other Will County communities to cheapen electric rates for its residents. The effort could save consumers 10 to 20 percent on their monthly bills.

In an attempt to curb electric rates, officials are looking to gain authority to arrange the supply of electricity to residents and small businesses.

To do so, the village will put a referendum on the March 2012 ballot asking residents if the village should have such authority.

Essentially, the village is looking to band together with a group of 17 other Will County communities so they can grab bulk rates from independent electric suppliers instead of ComEd, which supplies now. This effort is known as municipal aggregation.

Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar said he hopes the effort could help residents save somewhere between 10 and 20 percent on their monthly electric bill.

The village is able to do this thanks to legislation signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2009. That law—the Illinois Power Agency Act—allows residents to seek electricity from alternate suppliers. Theoretically, residents can bid out their electricity supply for the lowest price.

If the referendum passes, residents would have the opportunity to opt out of Bolingbrook's negotiations and stick with ComEd.

According to the Chicago Tribune, similar efforts in Oak Park saved consumers 24 percent on their energy costs, while Lincolnwood's attempt resulted in a 30 to 32 percent saving for residents and small-business owners.

ComEd, Claar said, would still maintain the lines. That means service would remain the same.

ComEd, according to its website, will still be responsible for delivery services—reading meters, maintaining equipment, responding to outages, providing reliable service and so forth. The bill may still come from ComEd, depending on the billing option selected by the supplier.

If approved by voters, Village Attorney Jim Boan said the village would likely hire a consultant to seek out providers. Boan said about six providers would have the capacity to supply electricity to a group this big.

At this point, the list of communities participating in the consortium is not finalized. That list should be completed by Jan. 3, Claar said. 

The issue will be presented to Bolingbrook voters during the March 20, 2012 primary election. The question will be: "Shall the Village of Bolingbrook have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program? Yes or no."

Claar said how the village plans to inform residents as the referendum approaches remains to be seen. 

For more information on municipal aggregation, visit ComEd's FAQ on the issue.

What do you think? Would you vote for municipal aggregation or would you rather remain with ComEd?  

Vicki Ivancevic November 16, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Peteee, you must not have read the FAQ from ComEd. You will still call ComEd when there is an outage because they are still responsible for the delivery of the electricity, they are just no longer responsible for generating the electricity. Here's the verbiage from the FAQ: "ComEd will still be responsible for delivery services – reading meters, maintaining equipment, responding to outages, providing reliable service, and so forth. The bill may still come from ComEd, depending on the billing option selected by the supplier." Also, it is immaterial whether this referendum is scheduled for a primary or a general election. You're a responsible citizen and vote in all elections, primary or general - right?
Brian Feldt November 16, 2011 at 04:09 PM
petee363: The referendum just goes on the next election ballot. Therefore, it will be the March primary. If they were to have decided on this in June 2012, it would have gone on the November ballot instead.
John & Deb Blumenstein November 16, 2011 at 05:29 PM
We've been hesitant to respond to offers from other electricity suppliers on an individual basis, since we are unsure as to reliability, outage issues, etc. It seems that the "group clout" of a number of villages would ultimately benefit their citizens in obtaining lower rates. Anything to lower utility bills is helpful, in our opinion, if done with proper consideration. JMHO
Emerson November 16, 2011 at 08:26 PM
I've read about other towns doing this negotiation and its resulting in some substantial savings for the residents. Glad to hear that our officials are looking to save us a few bucks too. I'm reluctant to sign off on Edison as an individual, so this group purchase takes the edge off it for me. It's likely to result in a lower rate this way, even if I don't get a free Bears tote bag for signing up. (as was offered in a mailer i got yesterday from an Edison competitor)
wanda petrucci November 16, 2011 at 08:42 PM
I think what many fail to understand is that companies like Spark energy lease the lines from Comed. By law, comed is required to allow them to do so. However, let's not get fooled about cost advantages. Comsumers will eaither pay on the front end (as is the case with Comed billing now), or on the back end (when subsidiary companies fall second to the primary when it comes to outages). Regardless of having the choice, consumers will pay one way or the other, and comed will not suffer. Have you ever looked at your electric bill? Imagine the "other fees and costs" being modified when transferring over to a subsidiary company like Spark. This whole thing is based in the "appearance" that consumers have a choice. Seriously? Don't drink the Koolaid.
Emerson November 16, 2011 at 09:17 PM
The sooner this is enacted, the better. If some folks can't get to the polls for this, they will have to endure the choices made by those that care enough to get out and vote. You snooze, you lose!
Eric Lawhead November 16, 2011 at 10:04 PM
I switched my electric provider in the summer to Spark and there is savings. They guarantee a rate at around 10% less than comEd's rate at the time I signed up. My rate stays the same throughout the year as comEd's fluctuates. I still can go online to comed.com and pay and view my bill. ComEd still has the incentive to do their job right because they are still getting the money from the leasing of the lines. This is a good idea to allow the masses together to do this.
PKR November 16, 2011 at 10:15 PM
You are completely misunderstanding the idea of deregulation. Everyone must pay ComEd for electricity DELIVERY, but the actual electricity generated and used you can buy from anyone. If you look on your Comed bill the charges are already separate. Comed has said that by law they are paid to maintain the lines and treat no one any different even if they buy electricity generated from someone else. I already have our business setup to buy electricity from another company and my house buys it from another company, but we still pay Comed to deliver it to our building. The town is simply looking to use the competition to get the best rates and lower everyone's electric bill. This is about friendly competition. You now can buy your power from coal and nuclear plants for cheap or you can choose to buy "green power" if you really want to pay more for it. By law they have to disclose where the power comes from. I myself chose the cheapest option which is coal and nuclear power...
Steve November 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Peetee, you are very naive when it comes to putting referendums on the ballot. This is not a "democrat" issue. Mayor Claar is a Republican. He wants this to pass. The 2012 Primary is the best chance, since the turnout this time will be higher on the Republican side because of the Presidential primary, he can ask for and receive 3,000 "yes" votes.
PKR November 16, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Reliability and outage issues are a non issue with other suppliers since you are still paying Comed for DELIVERY which covers that. You do have to watch out for billing issues, bad contract terms, and the fine print. I use Champion Energy and I have no problems.
PKR November 16, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Its pretty simple just read the contract before you sign it. Comed overcharges you because they can. You have to pay them for the lines, but you can save a little buying electricity generated from someone else.
N/A November 17, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Petee, you are right on target. It's all about timing. Mayor Claar's an expert on government, and the people. He knows very few people come out to vote in the primary. The best time to introduce yet another "government contolled" venture is to do it when non one's paying attention. Mayor Claar may be a republican, but it's in name only. He's a bona fide socialist who sees "big dollar signs" if government takes over. After all, it's not like voters will care enough to do their homework, and vote accordingly. This is a very smart move on their part. Big money and no accountability.
Larry Shaver November 20, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Peteee363 you did hit one thing on the head voters only come out when it benefits them. Maybe having this referendum on the primary ballot isn't such a bad thing after all! If the people care about their community they will come out and vote. As for the power issue, there are pros and cons on the issue. It is up to the people in our community to spend more time researching these important issues and come out and vote an informed ballot. Maybe some could use a little of the Facebook Farmville time for this.....Ms. Slaughter, perhaps if you really cared about our community and what goes on here you would spend less energy attacking the local Government and more time dealing with the substance of issues. An informed voter is a good voter!
N/A November 20, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Shocking but true. There's more than $350 million in tax revenue being generated on an annual basis in Bolingbrook; yet, many of our residents have no idea how that money is being spent, and don't care. Those who bother to vote continue to vote AGAINST their best interest. Electing Claar, The First Party, and Friends of Valley View. These politicians continue to increase spending, and approve contracts and policies that cost us more money (i.e. teachers' union multi-year, guaranteed raises, the BB Golf Course chronic losses, etc.). I believe local politicians have the best job in the world. They get to control hundreds of millions in tax dollars, free to spend it as they see fit with no accountability. There's little to fear because the residents are not paying attention. You can't even get them out to vote.
N/A November 20, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Larry, You are wrong. I care a great deal about Bolingbrook. In fact, I am the founder and editor of The Number Crunchers-Bolingbrook, a community website. The sole purpose of the site is to focus exclusively on how local government spends our tax dollars. It's my job to focus on Bolingbrook politicians. The site has been up and running for close to 3 years now. Our volunteer reporters have a common passion, and invest a lot of time & energy in attending board meetings, communicating with elected officials, and managing the "push back" from people like you. Sorry you don't like my comments. All I can say is too bad, we are here to stay.
N/A November 20, 2011 at 08:45 PM
.....more than $10 million in net losses since the doors opened in 2002, and growing. ***Check it out: http://thenumbercrunchers-bolingbrook.com/gcoperlosses.html ***BB Golf Course News: http://thenumbercrunchers-bolingbrook.com/bolingbrookgolfcourse.html
Peter November 20, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Rhonda Reed-Slaughter said "I believe local politicians have the best job in the world. They get to control hundreds of millions in tax dollars, free to spend it as they see fit with no accountability." You've got that right. Take a look at the Will County Independent Party (otherwise knows as Bonnie Kurowski-Alicea and Robert Bowen) website. This is what they have to say. http://www.willcountyindependentparty.org/youngindependents.html Young Independents Don't let time get away from you. Many local politicians are in the 20's. If you start early enough, you can land a lucrative career in government jobs with good pensions, benefits, and chances for early retirement. If this sounds like a career for you, read on! Participate in the election process from beginning to end. Run for a local election and work up your political careers. Rub shoulders with local politicians and network. Learn the requirements to run for office. Build up your resume with sitting on political boards. Get support from a team for running your own campaign. and much more! We have plenty of room for young Independents to join our cause. Make a difference in your local community and get a fresh start in the fastest growing political party in the Nation! Please contact us for details on how you can help.
Jennifer December 15, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Anyone on here REALLY want the truth? Socialist buy public utilities and businesses on tax payers dollars. Roger = Socialist Movement
PKR December 15, 2011 at 04:43 PM
This is hardly anything to do with "socialism". This is about using the buying power of Bolingbrook as a whole to let other electric companies bid competitively and get lower electric rates for everyone. I used to live in a very republican area in Texas and the town did the exact same thing saving everyone a lot of money. In the end the existing electric company (Like Comed in Bolingbrook) just lowered their rates to keep the business.
tom December 15, 2011 at 04:49 PM
With that logic, Arthur George Pradel and the Naperville City Council have been socialists for years!
Steve December 15, 2011 at 04:56 PM
More CFBB nonsense.
Kristie December 15, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Jennifer, Are you the author of the article on the blog? I think that Tom has a valid point. Naperville has been doing this for years. The blog always compares Bolingbrook to Naperville. Do you and the rest of the blog members think that Naperville is a community run by socialists? The water, sewer and electric have been supplied by Naperville's Department of Public Utilities for YEARS!
Candice W December 15, 2011 at 10:00 PM
I call them people from Naperville, Socialist Snob-Billys. They are in it for themselves and they has little or no mannors or education.
Steve December 15, 2011 at 10:08 PM
More CFBB nonsense.
Candice W December 15, 2011 at 10:20 PM
Put down the glass of koolade Steve and open your ears and mind to what's killing our town. Good people are trying to share mis-deeds in our community on a daily basis and all you try to do is bully them. You must have something to lose if you turn a blind eye to what is happening in our town. Shame on you!
Emerson December 15, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Negotiating lower electric rates will kill our town? Huh?
Steve December 15, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Bully who and how? You haven't laid out a case as to why we need to continue to pay extra to a for profit corporation while neighboring towns are paying much cheaper rates when their municipalities are buying in bulk from those similar sources. You don't understand how buying in bulk can lower a buyer's price in the open market. I'm also not sure how your "Naperville, Socialist Snob-Billys" comment is supposed to convince us to come over to your side. Sounds like bullying to me. On top of that, your spelling is atrocious.

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