Opting for individual choice for sustainable energy rather than a municipal mandate, the Deerfield Village Board took the necessary steps to implement communal purchasing of electricity at Monday’s meeting.
The Board approved four measures authorizing the Village to take necessary steps to implement the mandate approved by 74 percent of Deerfield voters in the March 20 primary election to allow a consortium of eight communities to purchase its own electricity.
Electric customers—both individuals and small commercial users—will experience savings of approximately $100 per year starting in June when Deerfield joins with Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Skokie, Park Ridge, Northbrook and Glencoe to purchase its own power, according to Village Manager Kent Street.
The only argument among Trustees was whether to require everyone joining the consortium to purchase renewable energy or leave the option to the individual. The Board chose to let individuals make that decision by a 4-1 vote.
The three alternatives before the Board were to not use sustainable energy, require the complete use of renewable power or let individuals make the choice and pay a higher price. Average savings would be approximately $80 per year using the sustainability option rather than $100.
Trustee Mary Oppenheim wanted to require everyone to use sustainable energy while Mayor Harriet Rosenthal along with Trustees Robert Benton, William Seiden, Barbara Struthers and Thomas Jester thought the choice best left to the individual.
“It’s an opportunity for residents in the Village to make a difference with sustainability,” Oppenheim said. “It it will only cost $20 per year when they are already saving $100 per year.”
Rosenthal and the other trustees urged a more cautious approach. They suggested letting individuals make a choice themselves because the entire idea of electric aggregation through the consortium was done as a cost savings measure.
“We want to make sure it’s going exceedingly well, the way we want,” Rosenthal said. “We want to proceed cautiously.”
One of the four measures approved the supplier for the consortium, MCsquared, which will work with the consortium to secure a rate this month for the first year of the contract, according to Jennifer Maltas, an assistant to Street.
Each year of the three-year contract, MCsquared will secure a price in May after Commonwealth Edison announces what it will charge. If the company cannot beat ComEd, it has obligations to the consortium members.
“They have the choice of reconnecting us to ComEd or offering it to us at a price less than ComEd,” Maltas said.
Once the rate is secure, letters will be mailed to all electrical customers in Deerfield who have not already purchased power from an outside source. They can then opt out of the program and stay with ComEd or buy from the consortium, according to Maltas.
Residents will continue to receive one bill from ComEd.