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Chicago, most suburbs leaning in favor of ‘municipal aggregation’

Updated: December 8, 2012 6:18AM

Chicagoans on Tuesday voted to let City Hall seek an alternate supplier for the city’s residential and small-business electricity needs.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, the vote was 56 percent in favor of the idea to 44 percent against.

The referendum on “municipal aggregation” was one of dozens like it in various Illinois communities. Rosemont, Schaumburg, Glenview and Calumet City were among the suburbs voting in favor of municipal aggregation. The measure was failing in Lynwood and Alsip.

Communities that approve aggregation seek competitors who can provide a lower energy supply rate. The delivery charge continues to go to ComEd, which still controls the lines that deliver electricity. ComEd also still handles billing.

In some communities, this power to bulk-purchase energy has resulted in smaller bills. In Wilmette, for example, officials were able to negotiate a supply rate of 4.035 per kilowatt-hour, versus the 8.32 that ComEd charges.

In communities that are just getting on the aggregation bandwagon, consumers will probably see fewer months of dramatic price differences.

That’s because some expensive long-term contracts that ComEd was locked into will expire in June, and at that point ComEd’s supply rate is expected to drop.

Many communities have included contract language to protect consumers in case ComEd’s supply price drops below that of a competitor.

Consumers in places that approve aggregation will automatically get the supply rate their town negotiates. If they don’t want to use the competitor, they can “opt out” and stay with ComEd’s supply rate.

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