Glenview’s Board Agrees to Pursue Electrical Aggregation
The village could partner with Wilmette and Kenilworth to reduce costs.
After hearing presentations about the costs and benefits of electricity aggregation, the Glenview Board of Trustees unanimously voiced their support for moving forward with the process at Tuesday’s workshop. Formal approval will be discussed at a later meeting.
Deputy Village Manager Don Owen explained the process, which allows communities to pool their residential and small business electrical needs to seek bids for power. If voters approved an electricity aggregation referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot, all residents would automatically be added to the pool unless they chose to opt out.
“If we control the bids through an aggregation process we think we can get savings,” Owen said. “However, as time goes on, that savings is likely to reduce.”
Jerry Burke, director of public works, said communities that have aggregated their electricity have experienced 18 to 44 percent savings, and that residents could save 61 percent on their monthly bills. He noted that these savings could be significantly reduced by summer 2013, when ComEd will be implementing new rates.
If the referendum passes in November, Glenview would likely not be able to negotiate a power bid until after ComEd’s rate change. Owen and Burke still argued that the Village should pursue the option.
Owen noted that communities that stick with ComEd could be left with higher bills as the company struggles to estimate the power needs for a shrinking customer base. He also mentioned that Village Hall has been receiving calls from confused residents who are being contacted by electricity providers trying to get them to opt in to different plans.
“If the village takes the lead and reviews the different companies that are out there and looks at clauses to protect the residents, it simplifies the decision process of where to buy electricity,” Owen said.
Staff estimated that the aggregation process would cost the village $15,500 and 50 staff hours as they educate residents on the process leading up to the referendum and seek proposals. But, that the number could be reduced if they partner with other communities going through the same process.
Wilmette Village Manager Tim Fenzer said that if Glenview passed the referendum they would be welcome to join a consortium with Wilmette and Kenilworth.
That partnership would be especially beneficial since the three villages are geographically contiguous and have similar average incomes and household sizes, he said. Members of the consortium will team up to share administration costs, but each community could choose its own plan and vendor.
Fenzer warned that cost should not be the only factor in seeking a vendor. He said bidding will determine whether ComEd or the bidder will collect bills, and if the vendor is given control they could strand payment plan customers, forcing them to reapply and then denying them based on their credit ratings.
“If we save people 30 percent on their energy bill, but they’re having a hard time dealing with the vendor, people won’t like it regardless of what the bill is,” he said.
Trustee Deborah Karton said she'd be interested to see if it would be possible for Glenview to take advantage of savings earlier, but President Kerry Cummings said the important thing for now is to get the process moving, and that she believes August 2013 is a realistic timeframe.
Cummings also noted that any residents eager to change suppliers sooner can do so individually.