Northfield puts electricity question on fall ballot
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:53AM
The decision to move forward with electrical aggregation is now in the hands of Northfield voters after the village board approved Monday a referendum question be placed on the November ballot.
Residents and trustees heard a presentation from Mark Pruitt, project director of Illinois Community Choice Aggregation Network, about the benefits of aggregation and trustees unanimously approved the motion to ask the question this fall.
If approved, Northfield would join the Lake Shore Alliance and their electricity provider MC Squared. The Lake Shore Alliance currently consists of Kenilworth and Wilmette.
According to data provided by Pruitt, the Lake Shore Alliance sees a 46 percent savings on the cost of electricity from ComEd’s summer rates (June-Sept.) and a 54 percent savings for their non-summer rates (Oct.-May).
Pruitt’s numbers have ComEd’s summer rate at 7.432 cents per kilowatt hour and 8.82 cents per kilowatt hour for the non-summer rate. The alliance’s rate from MC Squared came in at 3.397 cents and 4.785 cents respectively.
Trustee Allan Kaplan said ComEd estimated the average yearly consumption of a Northfield home at 14,000 kilowatts per hour.
The purpose of aggregation is to pool together an entire community or communities to shop for a lower electricity rate than is provided by ComEd. A 2009 act by the Illinois legislature allows municipalities to use aggregation and competition to lower electricity rates.
Residents have the option to, “opt-out,” of the program to remain with ComEd or shop for a new provider on their own.
“If you don’t want to be in the pool you can opt-out,” Pruitt said. “If you don’t say or do anything you’re still in the pool.”
If the referendum is approved by voters residents will receive a letter from the village with instruction on how to opt-out if they so choose. ComEd will send residents a similar letter shortly after.
Residents heavily questioned Pruitt, but appeared favorable to placing the question in their hands.
“I hope the village gives us the opportunity to think about it and get us involved,” said resident Jim Warner. “I’m very upset with ComEd. They do not respond at all. I think it’s time to put a little pressure on them.”
Pruitt added ComEd would still be responsible for bringing power to each resident and remains responsible for the maintenance of the lines. It is the provider of the electricity that would change.
“ComEd is still responsible for the wires, liability and issuing your bill,” Pruitt said. “You still write your check to ComEd. The only thing that changes is the price on your bill.”
If the referendum passes the village would educate the public on electrical aggregation before they head to the polls.
Trustees Kaplan, Joan Frazier, Jane Goldenberg, Terry Gottlieb and George Warga voted yes to submitting the referendum question. Trustee Brian Kozminski was absent. ~.