CHICAGO, Ill. (IRN) – There will be more on the ballot in March than just the presidential and congressional primaries.
Sixty-six Illinois cities and counties will have referenda regarding electricity, asking whether to engage in municipal aggregation. If a referendum wins approval, the government will be able to enter into an agreement with an electricity supplier, probably at a discounted rate.
Mark Pruitt, an electricity consultant and former head of the Illinois Power Agency, says the power purveyors offer a cheaper price because they benefit too. “The ability of a municipality to pull together 10,000 accounts under a single bidding situation for vendors has a lot of value,” he said. “It drives down the transaction costs. It drives down the risk.”
Pruitt says aggregation might bring the price down about 1 cent per kilowatt hour. Even if a city opts for aggregation, individual customers can opt out. Already, around 20 cities are involved in aggregate electricity purchasing.
Even with aggregation, the local utility – Ameren or Com Ed – still delivers the electricity, maintains the infrastructure and collects a fee from customers for doing that. It is the electricity itself that the customers are purchasing from an alternate provider under the city’s deal.
Cities with aggregation referenda on the ballot for March 20:
Algonquin, Alton, Arlington Heights, Atlanta, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Belleville, Buffalo Grove, Cary, Champaign, Collinsville, Crystal Lake, Darien, Deerfield, Downers Grove, East Peoria, Evanston, Freeport, Glen Carbon, Granite City, Gurnee, Highland Park, Hinsdale, Island Lake, LaGrange Park, Lake in the Hills, Lake Villa, Lake Zurich, Lakewood, Lemont, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Lindenhurst, Long Grove, Marengo, McCullom Lake, McHenry, Mokena, Montgomery, Morton, Mundelein, Northbrook, Orland Park, Oswego, Palatine, Park City, Park Ridge, Pingree Grove, Prairie Grove, Riverside, Rolling Meadows, Romeoville, Shorewood, South Barrington, South Elgin, Urbana, Vernon Hills, Washington, Waukegan, Wheeling, Wilmington, Woodstock.
Counties with aggregation referenda on the ballot for March 20:
McHenry, Ogle, Stark, Will, Winnebago.
(SOURCE: Illinois Commerce Commission)
Several other cities and counties have aggregation under consideration. All it takes to place the matter on the ballot is a council resolution.