By Bob Uphues
Riverside village trustees voted unanimously last month to extend its electrical aggregation program, with early signs pointing to savings for residents in the near term in contrast to the past 14 months.
Trustees voted unanimously on July 19 to renew its contract with Dynegy Energy Systems at a fixed rate of 7.719 cents per kilowatt-hour. That rate will be effective Oct. 1 and will run until October 2020.
The new rate represents a bit of a hike from the 7.25 cents per kilowatt-hour that Riverside residents have been paying for the past 14 months, and like the previous contract the new rate includes 100-percent renewable energy credits for electricity provided to participants in the program.
While the new rate will be higher come October, it's expected to be less than the rate charged through ComEd this fall, said Sharon Durling, director of marketing for the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC), which handled the competitive bidding process for the village.
ComEd's rate is expected to jump from last week's rate of 7.27 cents per kilowatt-hour to around 7.94 cents.
"At the end of September they may adjust that number, but it's a pretty solid target," Durling said.
Riverside voters approved the village's participating in electrical aggregation via referendum in 2012, when electricity rates on the open market were much lower than the rate charged through ComEd.
Voters in Brookfield and North Riverside also hopped on the aggregation bandwagon at that time, but have subsequently dropped it.
Riverside has hung onto aggregation, with trustees approving a contract with Dynegy in 2017 at a rate higher than ComEd's, because it allowed them to purchase the 100 percent renewable energy credits.
According to a memo from Village Manager Jessica Frances to the village board last month, Riverside electricity customers paid about $1.20 per month more per household (for a cumulative overage of $46,000) through the Dynegy compared to ComEd. But the energy was from 100 percent renewable sources.
Renewable energy credits are auditable certificates that can be traded or sold one time. When Dynegy buys the credits on behalf of Riverside, they are retired.
Only 14.5 percent of the electricity provided through ComEd is generated by renewable sources such as wind, biomass and water, said Durling.
When the new contract with Dynegy becomes effective in October, all Riverside households, except for those who have already contracted to get their energy through a private provider, will automatically become part of the program. If ComEd is your provider, you will be automatically enrolled as well.
Anyone who wishes to opt out of the program must do so by Aug. 24 by calling Dynegy at 844-351-7691 or filling out an opt-out card that will be sent to households prior to that date.
Those who have contracted with a private company for electricity will be sent an opt-in form, which they can fill out if they wish. However, prior to opting in, customers should find out if breaking their contracts with another company would trigger any penalties.
This article has been changed to correct the rate Dynegy will charge Riverside during its new contract.