Villages lock in low electric costs
NEW POWEr prICES
WILMETTE: 4.035 cents/kilowatt hour
KENILWORTH: 4.11 cents/kWh
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:35AM
Wilmette and Kenilworth residents will be paying, respectively, the lowest or near-lowest energy rates in the ComEd service territory, officials said Thursday.
Negotiators worked with mc2, the new power provider for both towns, and this week locked in prices of 4.035 cents per kilowatt hour for Wilmette and 4.11 cents/kWh for Kenilworth.
Wilmette Village Manager Tim Frenzer said the Wilmette price is 46 percent lower than the summer rate ComEd’s Wilmette residential and small business customers currently pay, and is 54 percent lower than the company’s non-summer rate.
Kenilworth’s total of 4.11 cents – which is also the price Wilmette residents who choose the village’s so-called renewable energy option will get – is “still among the lowest costs yet achieved in municipal electricity aggregation in this area,” as listed by the Illinois Commerce Commission, Frenzer said.
“This is really a great success for both communities,” he said.
Residents and qualifying small businesses will start seeing savings on their electric bills no later than September, and perhaps as early as this August. Savings could amount to about $450 per customer between September and the end of next May and perhaps more than $4 million in total between the village’s roughly 9,300 customers.
That is even more substantial than the $340-400 Wilmette staff estimated before negotiating the final price.
Before the new rates can kick in, Wilmette must send notices to all those customers, letting them know that they can opt out of the power-purchasing program if they want to, and outlining how to do it. That should happen the week of June 25, Frenzer said.
Customers will have 21 days in which to opt out, either staying with ComEd, or with any energy provider they have individually chosen. ComEd officials must also send out a second round of notices after the village’s letters go out, Frenzer said.
“We’re looking for their cooperation to get this done as quickly as possible,” he said.
Wilmette and Kenilworth voters in April gave their respective villages the authority to seek lower electric power rates for customers than the ones currently offered by ComEd. (ComEd will continue to distribute electricity generated by the new provider, charge for that distribution, and to bill customers.)
The two municipalities agreed to form the so-called Lakeshore Power Alliance to find a new provider and negotiate the new rates. This month they chose mc2, a subsidiary of an Ohio-based company, and trustees in both towns approved a three-year contract with the company.
After asking mc2 to provide cost estimates for providing the equivalent of 7 percent renewable energy (the legal minimum), 50 percent, 100 percent renewable, or the ability for individual customers to choose the 100 percent option, Wilmette trustees chose the individual elective. Under that, residents can buy so-called renewable energy credits equal to 100 percent of the power they use.
Kenilworth trustees decided to purchase the equivalent of 100 percent renewable energy on behalf of the roughly 855 households in the village.
For more information on the power purchasing program, visit www.wilmette.com/wp3.aspx.