May 8, 2012

Libertyville, IL adopts new energy program

The Village Board has adopted an ordinance authorizing Village participation in an electrical aggregation program that is expected to save about $200 a year off a resident’s electric bill.

The measure was initially passed in a referendum by 69 percent of the local voters in the March 20 primary election.

In a brief public hearing, with only one question from the public, the board quickly passed the enabling ordinance Tuesday night and made plans with previously-retained consultant Larry Shover, of Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative, to prepare a general mailing on Village letterhead to be sent to all residents and small businesses explaining the new alternative energy program.

Shover said his organization is also prepared to solicit bids from several providers within the next 30 to 45 days. The Village will probably join a coalition of other similar-sized municipalities to obtain a better volume purchasing deal. Following Village selection of the low bid — which must be less than ComEd’s rate — and agreeing to terms, the consultant anticipates that service will begin this summer. Provider contracts vary from one to three years, depending upon rates selected.

Grayslake residents and small businesses, which started their program last year and have already locked in a provider, anticipate saving $4 million over the next two years, according to Grayslake officials.

Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler said, in conjunction with the Village mailing going out soon, he will also hold a Town Hall meeting at the Civic Center where both he and Shover will field questions from the public on the program. Check with Village Hall or its Web site on the specific date, time and location.

Shover stressed that the program is purely voluntary. “You don’t need to do anything in order to participate in this program, and there is no cost to participate,” he said.

However, if you wish to remain with ComEd, or have already signed a service contract with another alternate provider, he said you need to return an opt-out postcard that comes with the all-Village mailing and promptly return it to the provider address indicated.

The board made three important decisions in adopting the program. They decided not to require a “civic contribution” which is authorized by state law for reimbursing the Village’s administrative and mailing services since they expect the consultant to cover this and be reimbursed by the successful provider.

Another public cost-saving measure that was adopted was not to require renewable energy credits that would slightly increase the user’s monthly bill.

The State has mandated that six percent of the energy supplied by the provider must be renewable (solar, water or wind) energy. That expense is built into the monthly user fee and will increase to 25 percent by the year 2025. However, users on their own can purchase additional renewable energy credits to support the green movement and the board preferred this voluntary approach rather than to mandate it.

Finally, residents who opt-out of the program will not be assessed a fee that some power suppliers now require. The Board agreed with staff that this would protect residents and small businesses that may want to switch from the program at a later date.

Shover also clarified the eligibility definition of “small business,” explaining that only those businesses that use less than 15-kilowatt hours of electricity per year can participate. He used a dry cleaning establishment as one likely to qualify and benefit from the Village program.


No comments:

Post a Comment