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Riverside won't see same saving with electrical aggregation agreement, but it will be green

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:05 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Riverside Township Hall.

RIVERSIDE – Riverside's Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of signing a new contract with First Energy for the village's electrical aggregation program at their Thursday meeting.

Previously, the village had a contract with Direct Energy for the village's electrical supply. Direct Energy told the village they were pulling out of the electrical market and were no longer available to the village when the contact ends in July. The village went through two rounds of bidding for a new provider in March, but passed on all offers, all of which came in higher, or more or less equal to, ComEd's expected summer rates.

On Thursday, Village Manager Peter Scalera brought a contract to the Village Board with First Energy for a three-year agreement. Scalera told trustees the contract's rates were nearly identical to ComEd's expected rates, but offered the village the option of getting its energy from green sources. The rate for ComEd would be for "brown energy," or from non-sustainable sources.

While the saves would not be as great as resident's experienced with Direct Energy, Scalera said the contract still appeared to be a good deal, because of resident's desire to support green sources for their energy needs. Trustees agreed and pointed to overwhelming resident support on a referendum in 2012 for electrical aggregation with a green option.

The village's electrical supply will be pooled, like all electricity on the market, and will not necessarily come directly from a sustainable source, such as wind or solar, Scalera said. But, the village's contract would purchase the energy with green credits, which electrical companies can purchase and trade.

As in the past, residents can opt-out of the program. If they choose to stay with the village's aggregation program, they will be automatically enrolled and will not need to do anything to change providers. Also, if the ComEd's rate drops more significantly, the village can end the contract at any time, and resident's accounts would be transferred back to ComEd.

At a Village Board meeting in March, Sharon Durling, director of Marketing for the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC), the village's aggregation consultant, warned trustees the results of their bids would not be as dramatic as in year's past. During told the board that less suppliers were offering bids, and other changes in the electrical market meant prices would not be much lower than ComEd's, as was the case in 2012 when Riverside entered its contract with Direct Energy. 

Residents with questions can contact the village at 708-447-2700.

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