Riverside’s Village Board of Trustees decided on June 4 to continue its energy aggregation program, voting unanimously to terminate its contract with First Energy and replace it with a two-year deal through a power supplier called Dynegy.

All Riverside electricity customers who remain part of the village’s aggregation program will be transferred from First Energy to Dynegy by September, according to Village Manager Jessica Frances.

Before that transfer takes place, all customers in the aggregation program will be sent a letter that explains how they can opt out of the aggregation program and return to ComEd.

Meanwhile, any customer who has already opted out of the aggregation program, either by having previously chosen ComEd or another energy supplier, will be sent a letter explaining how they may be able to opt in to the aggregation program with Dynegy as the electricity supplier.

Riverside had two years remaining on its contract with First Energy but utilized an escape clause it negotiated with the energy supplier when the village chose them in July 2014.

By choosing Dynegy, Riverside is locked into a two-year deal with no way to terminate it early. And while there’s no way to know if the new deal will save Riverside electric customers money compared to the rate ComEd will charge over the next two years, the new contract will provide a savings compared to the deal the village had with First Energy.

Since the First Energy contract began in July 2014, Riverside customers have paid 7.81 cents per kilowatt-hour, a figure that includes the village’s choice for a 100-percent “green” energy option.

While the electricity provided to the village does not come from 100-percent green sources, such as wind or solar, the additional cost customers pay allows the village to purchase renewable energy credits and helps fund the development of green energy sources.

During the first 12 months of the village’s contract with Dynegy, Riverside customers will pay 7.24 cents per kilowatt-hour for a 100-percent green plan. During the second 12 months, customers will pay 6.95 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The average ComEd rate through May 2016 is projected to be $7.15 cents per kilowatt-hour. ComEd does not offer a 100-percent green energy option, and Riverside trustees decided that the potential savings offered by ComEd were offset by Dynegy’s green-energy option.

“It really means nothing, dollar-wise,” said Trustee Joseph Ballerine.

Many communities, like Riverside, which first adopted a policy of energy aggregation back in 2012, saw significant savings during the first couple of years of the program. 

Through December 2014, Riverside customers participating in the aggregation program saved about $300 since 2012 in the cost of electricity. Village-wide the savings has been about $910,000, according to figures released by the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative, which serves as the village’s consultant for its aggregation program.

But with those kinds of savings drying up as ComEd’s rate has fallen, many municipalities, including North Riverside and Brookfield, have dropped aggregation in favor of ComEd.