Elmhurst will not renew electrical aggregation program

Savings from program, approved in 2012 referendum, disappeared in recent years

(City of Elmhurst video)

ELMHURST – The electrical aggregation program that has determined the price of electricity for participating Elmhurst residents since 2012 will not be renewed.

City Council members voted unanimously June 5 to approve a recommendation from the Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services committee to discontinue its electrical aggregation program because it was no longer providing the intended savings.

The program, which was approved in a referendum by Elmhurst residents in March of 2012, allows consumers to purchase electricity as a group. In theory, the greater buying power of the group results in lower costs to the energy supplier, and that is passed on to the consumer as savings.

However, according to the reports out of the committee, it became apparent in 2015 that the program was not generating savings. The following year the committee recommended that residents opt out of the program, even though the contract expired in August of 2017, and move back to the utility in order to pay less for electricity.

“Electricity is a commodity, and as we all know rates go up and down,” Fourth Ward Alderman Kevin York said.

The city originally enacted the electrical aggregation program in 2012 with a two-year contract with MC Squared that allowed residents to opt-out of the program. Two years later the city once again went through the process of identifying a favorable supplier for the buying group and signed a three-year contract with Constellation Energy, once again with an opt-out available to residents.

“The ability to really use an aggregation program to save the consumers money really just isn’t there any longer like it was previously.”

To determine that it was best not to enter into another electrical aggregation program, the  committee explored the available programs in the market place through the same process as the previous two times. The lowest bid came from Dynergy Energy at a rate of 7.239 cents per kilowatt-hour, slightly more expensive than ComEd’s most recently published average of 7.185 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“The ability to really use an aggregation program to save the consumers money really just isn’t there any longer like it was previously,” York said.

One of the differences between the electrical aggregation program and ComEd’s service is the amount of renewable energy in the total energy supplied. With Constellation Energy, 50 percent of the supply came from renewable sources. With ComEd the amount is less than 15 percent, according to York. He suggested that residents who want to continue to purchase electricity from renewable sources visit www.pluginillinois.org to find suppliers.

Elmhurst Electric Aggregation Program Renewal report by The Elmhurst Titan on Scribd