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Sycamore puts electrical provider choice on hold

Published: Monday, June 2, 2014 10:33 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 2, 2014 10:34 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – After reviewing bids for the possibility of entering into a new contract in the city’s electrical aggregation program, Sycamore officials decided Monday to keep waiting.

Bids were solicited in April for Sycamore to enter into a contract with an electrical provider before its current contract with First Energy expires in August. The City Council voted Monday to wait until June 16 because the lowest bid they received was at a fixed rate of 7.5 cents a kilowatt hour, just less than ComEd’s rate of 7.6 cents a kilowatt hour.

“We had hoped there would be an outlier or one company that was more aggressive,” Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said. “That hasn’t proven to be the case.”

Electrical rates have gone up in northern Illinois because of an increase in the cost to reserve the power supply in case of higher demand and the harsh winter. The situation in southern and central Illinois is much different, where residents living in Ameren’s territory are seeing a decrease in electricity rates from about 4.8 to about 4.6 cents a kilowatt-hour.

Sycamore’s current contract with First Energy has a fixed rate of 4.81 cents a kilowatt hour in effect until Aug. 1, but a Plug In Illinois chart shows their rates have now increased to 7 cents a kilowatt-hour.

The city wants to enter into a contract with a company that has an escape clause. This would allow residents to return to the ComEd rate in the event ComEd’s rate is set below the aggregated rate. According to city documents, only one supplier is offering that provision.

Sycamore also has committed to entering into a contract with a company that has no early termination fees, which means residents are free to leave the program at any time regardless of what the city decides, city documents show.

Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy said residents need to be aware of the specifics of the contracts should they choose to negotiate with their own energy provider.

“That provider could have a one, two or three year commitment,” Mundy said. “While we’re able to opt out and be flexible, other plans negotiated under an individual basis might not have that flexibility.”

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