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You Asked, They Answered: Your Questions about Electrical Aggregation

A representative from an energy consulting firm took on questions from a nearly full City Hall Monday night.

Oak Forest residents met Monday at City Hall. Some came armed with electric bills—but all brought their questions and concerns.

Sharon Durling, director of marketing for the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC), addressed the concerns from a nearly full council chambers.

Audience Questions, Followed by Durling's Answers

So ComEd would still be maintaining the lines?
Yes. They still will deliver the power. Their responsibility is to deliver the electricity. ComEd does not earn money on power generation.

What if the chosen supplier declares bankruptcy?
"Your lights would not flicker," Durling said. The power supply would default to something called a Provider of Last Resort (POLR). Electrons are still being pushed through a countrywide grid, she said—only the generator of the power would change. The city's contract with the then-bankrupt provider would be null, and rates would default to those set by the POLR.

What if (assuming the referendum passes), someone stays on the aggregation plan, but changes their mind and wants to leave six months later?
A provision would be written into that contract that residents can leave or come back any time, with no termination fee, Durling said. The idea is to never ding the residents with fees. Should ComEd's rates suddenly drop lower than the contracted provider, the accounts would be relinquished back to ComEd, or go back to the POLR.

Does the city need a minimum number of accounts to aggregate?
No. The referendum needs to pass with a majority of the votes—if 100 people vote on it, 51 votes in favor will mean it's a go. Residents will have two opportunities to opt out of the aggregation before it actually goes into effect.

How many years would this be set for Oak Forest?
Typically, the village NIMEC has worked with thus far have gone with two years. It allows room for adjustment, should the market change.

What communities are already doing this?
Glenwood, Oak Park, Oakbrook, Grayslake, North Aurora and Elwood. Mokena, Orland Park and South Chicago heights are all considering it.

How does your agency get paid?
We are paid by the winning supplier.

For more information, call 1-800-865-3404, or contact Public Works Director Troy Ishler at .

Tim F March 06, 2012 at 06:53 PM
The city's contract with the then-bankrupt provider would be null, and rates would default to those set by the POLR. I'm sure those rates would be a bargain too.

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