Riverside trustees voted 5 to 0 on June 15 to renew its electrical aggregation program, even though the electricity rates offered by the village’s provider, Dynegy, are higher than those presently offered through ComEd.

The 14-month agreement, which will become effective in August, provides that the energy being purchased is 100-percent renewable. But that comes with additional cost to residential electricity customers.

Dynegy’s bid price of 7.25 cents per kilowatt is higher than the ComEd price of 7.1 cents per kilowatt. However, ComEd’s price is guaranteed only for six months, and could go either up or down early in 2018. Dynegy’s price will maintain constant through the entire 14-month period.

Riverside in 2015 agreed to a two-year contract with Dynegy after a competitive bidding process handled by the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC). In the first year of that deal, Dynegy charged Riverside customers 7.24 cents per kilowatt hour. During the second year of the deal, which expires in August, Dynegy charged 6.95 cents per kilowatt hour.

According to Sharon Durling, director of marketing for NIMEC, beginning in August an average Riverside customer getting electricity through Dynegy will pay from 51 cents to $1.16 more per month than through ComEd. However, just 13 percent of the electricity through ComEd comes from renewable energy sources.

Many communities that opted for electrical aggregation around 2012, when rates found on the open market were significantly lower than the ComEd rate, have subsequently dropped the program.

Brookfield and North Riverside both abandoned the program in 2014 and 2015, respectively. But Riverside chose to remain on board largely because aggregation allowed the village to participate in a 100-percent “green” energy option. ComEd doesn’t offer such an option.

The ability to purchase energy from renewable sources was again the principal reason for Riverside to renew its agreement with Dynegy.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to do it, if we’re not going to do renewable,” said Trustee Joseph Ballerine.

That doesn’t mean residents are stuck with obtaining their energy from Dynegy through the village’s aggregation program. Residential customers can opt out of the program in favor of ComEd or any other electricity provider. 

In the coming weeks homeowners will receive notices from the village informing them of a 21-day opt out period and what they must do to opt out of the aggregation program.