Decision time for electric buying group
By Bob Okon email@example.com September 24, 2012 5:08PM
ExxonMobil refinery manager Rick Szalach (right)
Updated: October 26, 2012 6:12AM
Decision time is near for those who do or don’t want to be part of a government-backed buying group for electricity.
This is the last week for residents in 16 towns to opt out if they don’t want to switch to the Will Electric Aggregation Group.
Meanwhile, Joliet and four other towns opting into the program should hear soon what kind of rates they will get.
There are two types of towns in the buying group, which has been formed by the Will County Governmental League to take advantage of a buying opportunity created by a deregulation in electricity rates.
Residents in the 16 towns that passed a referendum in March automatically will be switched over to First Energy Solutions, the electricity supplier chosen by the group, unless they return a form this week saying they don’t want to join.
Hugh O’Hara with the governmental league said people in different towns have various deadlines but they all run out by Friday. Those in the opt-in towns should be getting notices in the mail sometime in October after an electricity supply rate is settled.
The opt-in towns turned down the March referendum. But municipal officials voted to give residents the option to sign up for the program if they wanted, which is why it’s called “opt in.”
The opt-out towns are getting a rate 42 percent below what ComEd now charges. The opt-in towns should be close, O’Hara said.
“The last time we had talked with our consultants they expect it to be in that same ballpark,” he said.
O’Hara told the Joliet City Council last week that demand for the opt-in program appears to be high judging by phone calls and other signs of interest. So, the league is urging a low rate based on the expectations of high sign-up in the opt-in towns.
Joliet Councilman Don Fisher also said interest in the program appears to be keen.
“My wife keeps asking me after every city council meeting, ‘When can we opt in?’ ” Fisher said. “That’s what I’ve heard around the community.”
O’Hara noted that electricity supply costs have been extremely low all summer but have been moving up in recent weeks, which could affect the rate for opt-in towns. But, he noted, savings compared to the current ComEd rate will be far beyond the 20 percent discount that his group had predicted a year ago.
The program only applies to electricity supply portions of the bill. Customers will continue to pay ComEd for delivery rates and will continue to receive service from ComEd.