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DeKalb Township seeks electrical aggregation

DeKALB – DeKalb residents who missed out on savings to their electric bills last summer will have another chance in April to vote on an electrical aggregation referendum.

The DeKalb Township Board voted unanimously to place a referendum for electrical aggregation on the April ballot and give the roughly 3,000 residents outside DeKalb’s city limits the same opportunity for savings on their power bills as city residents.

DeKalb city residents approved electrical aggregation in March 2012 and are locked into rates of 4.64 cents a kilowatt hour compared with ComEd’s 8.03 cents per kilowatt hour, saving roughly $23 a month.

Electrical aggregation allows residents to band together to secure the best rate from energy suppliers.

Because the energy is bought in bulk, residents save more with the township entering short-term contracts with opt out options on their behalf.

ComEd still delivers the electricity through its power lines and issues the bills, but the energy is provided by an alternative supplier.

Residents in DeKalb Township had an opportunity to begin an aggregation program last year when DeKalb County put a referendum on the March ballot, but the measure was defeated. DeKalb Township voters supported the measure, but those in other townships voted against it.

Because the roughly 3,000 residents will not enter into an aggregation program with other county unincorporated residents should the township’s referendum pass, the rate will likely not be as low as had it passed in March.

But Eric Johnson, the township supervisor, said aggregation still would be a great opportunity for residents and is a no-lose situation.

“A lot of people didn’t really know how it would play out and were a little cautious of it,” he said. “But after people have seen how it’s played out in the city of DeKalb, they see the savings.”

If the referendum passes, the township will need to hold two public hearings on the issue and then will be allowed to accept bids from power suppliers. Rock River Energy Services, the company that consulted the city of DeKalb, will guide the township through the process.

Contracts allow residents to opt out if they wish to remain with ComEd or use a different energy supplier. For residents who do not opt out, the rate will default to ComEd’s rate if the supplier should ever exceed ComEd’s rate.

Only residents in DeKalb Township living outside city limits can vote on the referendum.

Those in the city will not be affected.

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