Orland Park Considers Electrical Aggregation Program

Orland Park Considers Electrical Aggregation Program
Posted on 12/20/2011

The Village of Orland Park is joining communities throughout the state as it considers an electrical aggregation program. Aggregation refers to many customers joining together to form a buying group, in this case for electrical service for residential and small business customers in the Village of Orland Park.

"The village buying electricity collectively could potentially mean an annual savings of 15 to 20% on the energy portion of an electric bill," said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. "A number of municipalities in the state have implemented programs like this to help their residents and small businesses save money. It also provides an option for those who choose not to be a part of the program," the mayor added.

On December 16, 1997, the State of Illinois implemented a plan to deregulate Commonwealth Edison. Under the plan, ComEd no longer generates electricity for its customers but continues to provide power through its distribution system. Electrical customers are able to purchase power through any of the 23 Illinois Commerce Commission approved alternative retail electric suppliers. The energy portion is typically two-thirds of an electric bill.

"We've received a number of calls from residents asking that Orland Park make this available," McLaughlin said.

A January 1, 2010 state law allows municipalities to aggregate and transfer their residents' and small commercial retail customers' electric accounts to alternative electric suppliers. Electrical power would be produced by a company other than ComEd with ComEd continuing to supply electricity to residents over ComEd's electricity grid. ComEd customers who are part of the group purchasing will continue to be billed by ComEd and will continue to contact ComEd with service needs.

During the April, 2011 elections, 24 communities served by ComEd placed referenda on the ballot with a majority of the towns approving the referendum. Area communities that have successfully implemented aggregation programs include New Lenox, Oak Brook, Oak Park and Glenwood.

"If people don't want to be a part of the group buying, they will be able to opt out," McLaughlin noted. "However, those who want to take advantage of our buying as a large group could potentially save $150 to $200 a year for an average electric bill. For a typical family, that could pay for a week of groceries or other expenses. This could mean up to $3 million dollars saved annually by the entire community," the mayor added.

To initiate the program, state law requires that the Orland Park Board of Trustees adopt a resolution to add a referendum to the Tuesday, March 20, 2012 Illinois Primary Ballot. The Village Board approved adding the referendum to the March ballot at its December 19 meeting.

Worded by the State of Illinois, the referendum asks, "Shall the Village of Orland Park have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?" The advisory referendum enables the village to negotiate and research electrical service providers.

After the March election, the village will request electrical load data from ComEd that will be used for the bid process seeking electricity providers. The board would then adopt an ordinance authorizing the electricity aggregation program.

Residents choosing not to be a part of the program will have an opportunity to opt out, thereby continuing to purchase power from ComEd. Regardless of whether a resident chooses to participate, the electric service will continue to come from ComEd.

"Orland Park will continue to play a leadership role in helping its residents and businesses conserve energy and save money," McLaughlin said, noting the village's recent invitation for residents to join the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) Energy Saving Team. This CUB program enables residents to track their electrical use and offers tips for conserving energy, saving money and earning reward points for electrical savings.

Further information about the Village of Orland Park's consideration of an electrical aggregation program can be found on the village's website, www.orland-park.il.us.

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