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When North Riverside residents go to the polls in November to help elect the next president of the United States, they'll also have an opportunity to vote on a proposal that would allow the village to negotiate lower electric rates for its residents.
On Aug. 13, the North Riverside village board will vote to put a referendum question on the November ballot, asking if the village can seek competitive quotes for electricity from independent power providers.
The practice, referred to as electric aggregation, has exploded in the last two years as municipalities have sought alternatives to the prices charged by ComEd, which maintains the grid through which the power travels.
In April, both Brookfield and Riverside residents voted in favor of electric aggregation, and the fruits of that vote will begin showing up on residents' bills this fall. In both villages, residents will pay far less for electricity than they paid under ComEd.
The village plans on using the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative (NIMEC) to negotiate prices with power companies. Both Brookfield and Riverside used NIMEC for the same purposes.
Riverside customers are expected to save up to $400 annually on electricity costs as a result of the competitive bidding process that went through in May. The power company chosen by the village, Direct Energy, is providing electricity to Riverside customers at a rate that's almost half of what they were paying through ComEd.
Brookfield chose to contract with First Energy, and residents there are expected to save up to $300 during the first year of the program.
Participation in the municipal aggregation program is automatic, unless residents choose to opt out and seek to obtain power through a company of their own choosing or have already chosen a third-party power provider other than ComEd.
ComEd will still deliver the electricity, maintain the system, respond to power outages and send out the bills.