Village Gets Green Light to Shop for Power

Sixty-two percent of Downers Grove voters say yes to electrical aggregation.

Downers Grove residents favored a proposal to allow the village to shop for electrical power on their behalf, by a margin of 5,558 to 3,454.

Approval of the March 20 referendum means the village will be able to negotiate for electrical power with suppliers on behalf of residential customers and small retail customers, without asking each customer individually. Group buying is expected to result in lower electrical bills for consumers.

According to the village's explanation of the proposal on its website, residential and small commercial customers will still be able to opt out of the new arrangement.

Following passage of the referendum, the village is required to hold two public hearings before adopting a "Plan of Governance." Then all the affected customers would receive a card in the mail telling them how to opt out, six to eight weeks before the program is supposed to start. After getting the notice, customers would have two to three weeks to respond and opt out, or about a month before the start of the program.

Customers who wouldn't automatically be included are those who have signed on with ComEd for real-time pricing, those who have entered into an individual contract with a power supplier, and those who use electricity for heating.

ComEd would continue to distribute power along its grid, sending out one bill to customers and responding to outages.

A change in state law in 2009 allows for municipal electrical aggregation. According to Crain's Chicago Business, more than 200 communities in Northern Illinois had the question on the March 20 ballot.

Bob Barnett April 01, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Mr. Capetta, I certainly don’t have all the answers nor would I ever claim to – ever. I’m sorry you’re upset and I’d invite you to a live conversation, time and place of your choosing. Or if you’d prefer, I’d be happy to meet you at Village Hall before a meeting – just let me know. Perhaps if we talk live rather than in snippets on the web we can come to a better understanding of each other’s feelings about this issue. Paul, you participated in the discussion of this issue a month ago on Facebook … so assuming you read the posts of others (myself and the Mayor specifically) therein, you know why I do not support Mr. Thoman and you know that I was upfront with the Mayor, you know I asked to have the issue removed so that no one felt embarrassed, put out or “thrown under the bus”. You might also consider that over the several years, almost all appointments made were unanimous (with two notable recent exceptions; Mr. Waldack who did not support the appointments to the Comprehensive Planning Committee expansion and Mrs. Schnell who once voted against any appointments during campaign season which ultimately caused a policy change for the Council – a good change to be sure but unfortunately we only refer to municipal elections in that policy directive). Finally, I would remind you of the process itself … there are seven on the Council and this issue did not have the required second to reach discussion.
PAUL C. April 01, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Bob, It's Cappetta and you can count on Mr. Crane, myself and many others keeping an eye closely on the going-ons of the council from now until the next 2013 election as well as watching how our future State Representative Sandack and Senator Radongo. We will keep score on the voting records of everyone. DgWatch and www.dggab.com are here to stay Mr. Barnett. Maybe through some education of the voting public in DG and the district, we'll be able to get a 30% voter turnout in the near future. As far as meeting with you goes, I really feel we'd acomplish little because our opinions and view on what good government is are far from one another. Like I have said before, we have 4 council members who will vote as 1 at least 85-90% of the time. I have a good idea what your plans are for the near future in regards to local government and I personally don't agree with much you have done or failed to do. I find it best that we agree to disagree and feel the same way about future State Rep Sandack. We'll have our eyes opened wide and will record and distribute what we see by using all the media channels available. Transparency is something you and Ron like and we plan to put a whole lot of it out there even in the off season.
nuffsaid April 01, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Back to Electricity...and I mean the kind used to power my house. Its my understanding that a government agency already handles the role now that the Village will be playing in the future. It is also my understanding that this agency is run by the State of Illinois. Is this true? if so, are we not replacing a State run act with a local Village run duty/act. If so, isn't that better? In any case, my electricity costs will be going down, which is good. Should help pay for the Storm Water Utility tax that our Village is about to pass.
Bob Barnett April 02, 2012 at 12:19 AM
nuffsaid – mostly. The agency you're referring to is Illinois Power Agency who currently purchases power on behalf of residents in the State who choose not do so on their own (we CAN do so on our own right now). That power is then distributed through ComEd. What the Village may do as a result of the recent referendum is negotiate for yet another supply choice. The theory is that the negotiated rate for the electricity (ComEd would still be the distributor) would provide opportunity for a lower cost due to the volume opportunity for the supplier since they could, unless one opts out, garner a whole Village of new customers at once rather than via individual sales. Thus if we go forward and are successful, residents in the VoDG would have several choices for electricity supply; ComEd (via Illinois Power Agency), this list (http://www.pluginillinois.org/res.aspx) and a supplier who the Village negotiates with. Contrary to some of the editorials out there, you retain all choice in who supplies your electricity – not the VoDG. You will pay the supplier for the electricity – not a VoDG entity. We will not decide your supplier for you; we would be providing you with another choice. Additionally, should this go forward, the Village intends that the approved contract (which you may choose not to participate in) will include a clause that allows the Village to terminate the contract if the supplier cannot beat the ComEd rate in the future.
Robert Bykowski April 02, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Mr. Crane, I deleted your comment as it got too far away from the subject of electrical aggregation (or anything even tangentially connected to the core subject matter ). Thanks, Robert


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