The good news is that for the last two years residents of Brookfield and Riverside benefited from an electrical aggregation program that delivered significant savings compared to rates available through ComEd.
The bad news is those days are over, for now.
Anyone who benefited from the villages’ two-year contracts with independent electrical suppliers is going to see their electric bills jump beginning later this summer. Rates charged through ComEd and by independent companies will largely be the same for at least the next year.
For Riversiders and Brookfielders that means the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour is rising from less than 5 cents to almost 8 cents.
“We did receive substantial savings over the last two years,” said Brookfield Village Manager Riccardo Ginex. “But this year the best prices are with ComEd.”
Brookfield’s village board on May 27 decided to let its contract with the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC) lapse after receiving the latest round of electrical bids from suppliers earlier that day.
The village received four bids, with the lowest coming in at 8.74 cents per kilowatt hour. That bid came from the village’s current electrical supplier, First Energy. None of the bids the village received included pricing for 100-percent sustainably sourced power.
Instead of accepting the low bid, Brookfield trustees followed Ginex’s recommendation to let the contract lapse and move all of the village’s residential and business accounts, which are part of the aggregation program, to ComEd, beginning July 15.
According to Ginex, ComEd has set its rates for the next 12 months. Its rate from June through September is 7.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, with an additional .33-cent rate adjustment. The October through May rate will be 7.4 cents per kilowatt hour, plus the rate adjustment.
Ginex said residents who want to purchase electric power through another company are still free to do so. Anyone currently with a private contract for electrical power supply will not be affected by the village’s switch to ComEd.
“The transition should be seamless,” said Ginex, noting that residents will receive a letter from the village announcing the change at the end of June.
While Brookfield is leaving aggregation behind for the next year, Riverside has inked a new three-year contract to purchase electrical power after accepting one of four bids submitted to the village in mid-May.
Beginning in July, Riverside’s power supplier will be First Energy, which submitted a bid of 7.81 cents per kilowatt-hour — a 100-percent “green” option. Not all of the power will be generated from green resources, but First Energy will issue credits to help build new green power sources.
First Energy was also the only company submitting a bid that allows the village to move all of its customers to ComEd if ComEd’s rates ever fall below First Energy’s. Any residential or business customer can opt out of the village’s aggregation program.
All of the customers affected by the change in electrical suppliers will receive a letter from First Energy in June, notifying them of the switch and of the ability to opt out of the program.
Current ComEd customers can also opt into the new program, said Scalera.
Regardless, customers in Riverside who got used to the low electric supply rates in the past two years will experience some sticker shock.
“We’re at 4 cents and we’re going to 7 [per kilowatt-hour], so there will be a difference,” Scalera said.
From summer 2012 through March, Riverside electric customers as a group saved more than $800,000 by going with the aggregation program compared to the rates they would have paid through ComEd.
In that same time, Brookfield customers saved more than $1.5 million. Most of the savings was realized during the first year of the program.