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Electrical Aggregation Gets Public Hearing

A second hearing related to March 20 ballot initiative set for March 5.

Deerfield’s Village Board held the first of two public hearings Tuesday on whether to give residents the option of  purchasing electricity through the a consortium of nine North Suburban communities in before citizens vote on a referendum in the March 20 primary.

The next hearing is March 5.

No one in the sparse audience asked questions but trustees asked a few as Jenny Maltas, the village’s point person on the issue, made a presentation on the process that could bring lower power rates to residents and businesses later this year if the measure passes.

Community choice aggregation is staked on the notion that the Village will act on behalf of its people by bundling lots of electric accounts and seeking bids for electricity on the open market rather than continuing to buy power from Commonwealth Edison. Com Ed will continue to deliver the electricity.

Deerfield is one of nine communities that formed the North Shore Electricity Aggregation Consortium late last year, which as a joint purchasing cooperative will help secure that lower rate for residents and small business owners.

Other communities in the Chicago area, including Lake Forest, Highland Park, Glencoe, Oak Park, Oak Brook and Lincolnwood, already have approved ballot measures and are in various stages of completing the process of switch over.

How much of a savings a customer will get will not be known until after the price on electricity, which is a commodity, is secured. Once the price is locked in, the Village will move forward with Com Ed to switch people over to the new supplier, according to Maltas.

As part of the village’s educational campaign to educate voters about the measure, information has been placed on the Village’s website and also will be inserted into water bills. Next month’s De-Tales, the Village’s newsletter, will feature an article about the initiative.

Deerfield and other communities that have the question on their ballots can only supply information on the measure and cannot take a stand on the measure.

If the measure is approved by voters, the Board will approve a contract for an alternative supplier April 2. Trustees will determine what percentage of less polluting energy and the associated rate that will be provided to the community. Once a price is locked in, the Village will move forward with Com Ed to switch people over to the new supplier, according to the Village.

Trustee Robert Benton urged residents who have been getting unsolicited calls from suppliers to contract with their firm for energy to wait until the process plays out. “The Village is working toward this; we are taking action on their behalf,” he said.

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