City: Electric Bills Could Drop $300 a Year
Oak Forest will push ahead with an electrical aggregation plan, which is expected to drop rates by allowing the city to find a new electricity supplier. Two aldermen raised some objections to an added cost for green energy credits.
Don't expect the ComEd name to go away but city officials are expecting electric bills to decrease as the hunt begins for a new electricity supplier.
On Tuesday, the City Council authorized in a 5-2 vote the aggregation of the city's electrical load and put in place a plan to find a new electricity supplier. One of the first steps is to go out to bid on May 10.
Voters passed a referendum on March 20 that asked if they wanted to allow the City of Oak Forest to have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity—known as electrical aggregation.
The City estimates homeowners will see an average savings of $300 per year, based on what has been seen in other communities who have adopted similar plans.
ComEd will remain in charge of billing and maintaining the electric grid, including handling calls about power outages. ComEd no longer generates its own electricity and, instead, has it supplied by third-party providers and its parent company, Exelon Corp.
Residents will be able to opt out of, or back into, the aggregation if they choose. The City also could negotiate a rate guarantee which would require a new supplier to lower its rate if it begins to exceed ComEd, or allow the City to revert back to its old service.
The action on Tuesday also authorizes the City Administrator to accept one of the bids for a new supplier. Troy Ishler, who has been the city's director of Public Works, was appointed the vacant City Administrator position also on Tuesday.
Based on recommendations made by Ishler, the city will seek a two-year contract with a new supplier.
Check back with Oak Forest Patch for the complete story on Ishler's appointment.
A Matter of $10
The two dissenting votes on the council came from opposition over how to pay for renewable energy credits.
In searching for a new electricity supplier, Oak Forest has the option to find bids that, for an additional cost, will provide power from clean energy sources. The costs, based on estimates received by Oak Forest, put that cost at about $10 for the average household per year.
Defenders of this measure argued that this wasn't an added cost to consumers, that it merely reduces the total savings that are estimated for customers.
Second Ward Alderman Rich Simon took exception to the line of thinking.
"That’s taking money out of their pockets and not given them a choice," he said.
Both Simon and 7th Ward Alderman Mark Keating raised concerns about taking away the individual choice of consumer to decide whether they want to accept clean energy sources for the added cost.
"I struggle with making choices for individuals when there is an opportunity to do it for themselves," Keating said.
Customers would still have the ability to opt out of the program at anytime, officials said.
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