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?