Update: October 4, 2012
The process of moving all eligible residential and commercial customers to FirstEnergy Solutions, under the terms of the Village's electricity aggregation program, is now complete. Most accounts were switched to FirstEnergy in September. Customers will see savings on ComEd bills received in either October or November, depending on the meter reading date.
Customers with questions about the program should contact FirstEnergy Solutions directly at 1-866-636-3749. The Village does not have access to account information for aggregation members.
If you opted out of the program and would like to switch to FirstEnergy Solutions OR if you have recently established a new ComEd account, you may contact FirstEnergy directly to sign up for the Village's rate.
Environmental Disclosure Statment
This week, customers in the Village's electricity aggregation program are receiving Environmental Disclosure Statements from FirstEnergy Solutions, the power supplier for the aggregation program. The letter provides statistics for the sources of electricity (coal, wind, nuclear, etc.) used by electricity customers within ComEd's territory. Most power consumed in the ComEd territory is generated either through coal or nuclear sources.
Whether you are a FirstEnergy or a ComEd customer, your power is on the same grid; therefore, these statistics will remain the same whether or not you are a part of the FirstEnergy program.
As part of the Village's aggregation program, FirstEnergy is required to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates, which means that 100% of the energy used by Village residents is offset by providing funding for renewable ('green') energy, such as wind or solar power.
For more information on Renewable Energy Certificates, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Current Status: August 2, 2012
- The Opt Out period is now over. Residents and eligible businesses who received a letter and did not opt out will receive notice from ComEd informing them that their account has been enrolled in the program. Actual enrollment dates are dependent on meter reading dates. The lower rate is anticipated to go into effect for the billing cycle that begins in late August.
- While the majority of residents received notification letters in early July, Village staff recently discovered that more than 1,000 eligible residents were not included in the original mailing list provided by ComEd to the Village. These residents will be mailed a revised opt out letter and will be eligible to receive the same benefits as all other residents who were previously notified.
July 9, 2012
- If you DO want to be part of the Village's program with FirstEnergy Solutions and receive the lower rate of 4.75 cents per kilowatt hour, DO NOTHING. You are automatically enrolled.
- If you DO NOT wish to be included in the Village's program, return the postcard to the supplier, enclosed in the Opt Out letter, which was mailed the week of July 9. If you return the postcard, you will stay on the default price with ComEd.
The Village and the electricity supplier, FirstEnergy Solutions, are required by the State of Illinois to send an Opt Out letter to all eligible residents and businesses automatically included in the new supply rate.
- If you are currently with a supplier other than ComEd, you will NOT be automatically enrolled in the Village's new rate and you will not receive an Opt Out Letter. You may OPT IN to the program after July 5, 2012 by calling FirstEnergy directly at 1-866-636-3749. Carefully consider any termination fees that your current supplier may charge before deciding to switch. The name of the person on the account is the only one authorized to opt in. Callers must have the following information available: their latest bill, Com Ed account number and contract end date.
Please be aware that upon cancelling your contract with another supplier, you must select FirstEnergy or another alternative supplier within two billing cycles. If an alternate supplier is not selected within that time, you will be locked into ComEd's rates.
June 14, 2012
The Village of Downers Grove and the Village of Westmont have awarded a contract to First Energy to provide electric supply services through the villages' Municipal Electrical Aggregation Program.The new contract will save the average household approximately $350 on their annual electricity bill. The two-year fixed rate of 4.75 cents per kilowatt hour for eligible residents and businesses represents a 42% savings over ComEd's comparable non-summer rate.
NOTE: The price reduction refers to the electricity supply portion of the bill only, not the cost of delivery.
In addition to substantial electricity supply cost savings, the new rate includes Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) on a one to one match to supplement the electricity purchased. Purchasing RECs at the same quantity as electricity consumption guarantees that the energy used is added to the power grid from a renewable energy facility, thus supporting further development of green energy sources.
The new rate will take effect later this summer for all eligible customers, generally defined as the following:
- Most residential customers.
Exception: Residents under contract with a third party supplier other than ComEd and residents on ComEd's Real Time Pricing program.
- Businesses that use less than 15,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.
All eligible customers will automatically be enrolled in the program unless they elect to opt out. First Energy will send a letter to customers soon, explaining the program and the opt out procedure. Customers under contract with another supplier are eligible to opt into the program at the same rate (4.75 per kWh) for 60 days after the program begins. However, customers are urged to carefully consider their existing contracts to avoid any early termination fees.
The Villages used the energy consulting firm Belden Energy Solutions for program assistance and guidance.
As a reminder, consumers are urged to be cautious of offers from other electrical suppliers seeking to contract directly with the customer. Compare the rate of service and all terms and conditions before signing any contract or agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions
In March, Downers Grove voters approved a referendum authorizing the Village to seek lower electricity rates for eligible residential and small business customers. After the referendum passed, the Village selected FirstEnergy Solutions to supply electricity for the program.
How do I enroll?
As an eligible residential or small business customer, you will automatically be enrolled in the program, unless you opt out.
How do I opt out?
All eligible customers will receive a letter with instructions to opt out. To do so, contact the supplier directly, according to the instructions on the letter. All opt-out notifications must be received by the end of the opt-out period stated in the letter.
What if I want to opt out later?
You may leave the program at any time. There is no termination fee for leaving the program.
Is there a cost to enroll?
No, there are no enrollment or switching fees.
Are the rates fixed or variable?
The rates are fixed.
When will I begin to see savings?
Customers can expect to see savings in August.
Who will bill me for electricity?
You will continue to receive one monthly bill from ComEd.
Can I still have my payment automatically deducted from my checking account as I do now?
Yes. You will still pay ComEd using the same methods available now and your account number will not change.
Can I stay on budget billing?
Yes. Your budget billing will not be affected by your participation in this program.
Who is responsible for delivery of power to my home or business?
ComEd will continue to deliver your electricity and will be responsible for maintaining the system that delivers power to your home or business.
Who do I call to report a power outage or problems with my electric service?
You will call ComEd at 1-800-Edison-1 (residential) or 1-877-4-ComEd-1 (commercial) to report a power outage or problems with your electric service.
June 5, 2012
On June 5, 2012, the Village Council voted to authorize Village staff to seek final pricing for a 24-month contract for electrical supply for a rate that includes renewable energy credits to offset 100% of the electricity load. The contract will be awarded by the Village Manager to the lowest bidder from among four qualified suppliers. The new rate will likely go into effect in the August ComEd billing cycle.
All residents and eligible small businesses will be automatically included in the aggregation program and do not need to take any action to reduce their electricity rates.
The eligibility of small businesses (any business using less than 15,000 kilowatt hours per year) is determined by the Illinois Commerce Commission. Residents who are currently under an existing contract with another supplier (other than ComEd) will not be included in the Village's program; however, a resident whose contract ends within 60 days of the effective date may ask to be included in the program.
After the Village approves an agreement with a new electricity supplier, every resident and eligible business will be given the opportunity to opt out of the program. Every customer that would be included automatically will receive a letter with instructions to opt out, which may consist of returning a postcard or responding by telephone.
Plan of Governance
The Village is required by the Illinois Power Agency Act to adopt a Plan of Governance (POG) to create an opt-out aggregation program for its residents and eligible small business. The POG is a document which describes how the program will be operated. Electrical Aggregation allows local governments to bundle - or aggregate - residential and small commercial retail electric accounts and seek proposals for a less expensive source of power. Here are a few key points within the POG:
- Downers Grove will seek competitive proposals and negotiate a contract with a licensed alternative retail electric supplier (ARES) to provide electric supply at contracted rates to all members of the program.
- Residents are eligible unless currently under an alternative ComEd rate plan or contract with a different energy supplier. A complete list of ineligible groups can be found in section IV of the POG.
- Eligible small businesses include those using less than 15,000 kwh per year or are not under contract with a different energy supplier.
- There will be a two to three week period during which customers may opt out.
- ComEd will continue to provide a single bill to members of the program for all electrical charges.
- The initial contract will be for a one-year period. At the end of this period the Village has the right to extend the agreement if the supplier can continue to beat ComEd's price.
- Potential suppliers will be required to present options for renewable energy ranging from the minimum required under state law to 100% renewable energy.
- The POG also outlines the conditions for entering and exiting the program i.e. when customers relocate in or out of the community during the contract term.
Public hearings regarding the Plan of Governance (POG) for the Village's Electrical Aggregation Program were held during the Village Council Meetings on Tuesday, May 1 and Tuesday May 15, 2012.
If you were not able to attend the public hearings, but would like to comment on the Plan of Operation and Governance, please email your comments to Management Analyst Allison Deitch.
May 1, 2012
The Village Council held a Public Hearing on the Plan of Operation and Governance on May 1, 2012. Following the public hearing, the following changes were made to the Plan:
- Extension of the required opt-out period from two weeks to three week
- Simplified the contract renewal options to enhance the Village's ability to achieve the lowestrate when the contract expires.
May 15, 2012
Solicitations by Energy Providers
An article in the May 3, 2012 Chicago Tribune reported that alternative electricity suppliers are soliciting residents in the northern suburbs to buy their products, in some cases claiming that they represent the municipality or have been selected by the municipality to provide electricity to residents. While the Village has not been notified of any similar tactics within Downers Grove, residents should be aware that any supplier delivering information, making phone calls, or visiting a residence or business in person is not representing the Village of Downers Grove or providing information as part of a the Village's Electrical Aggregation program.
On March 20, 2012, voters approved a referendum to give the Village authorization to seek a lower price for electricity for residents and business through a competitive bid process. The Village has not selected a supplier. This selection process will occur in June or early July. All residents will then be provided with an opportunity to opt out of the Village's program. All materials associated with the Village's program will be labeled with the Village's official logo.
Alternative suppliers will continue to solicit residents in the coming months. If you choose to sign up for a program offered by an alternative supplier, you may be ineligible to participate in the Village's program. If you are contacted by a supplier claiming to be associated with the Village of Downers Grove, please take down the company name and report it to the Village at 630-434-5525.
Electrical Aggregation Summary/Timeline
At the December 6, 2011 Village Council meeting, the Village Council approved a resolution placing a referendum question on the March 20, 2012 General Primary Election ballot regarding the Village's ability to operate a municipal electricity aggregation program for residents and eligible small businesses. Approval would give the Village authorization to seek a competitive bid that lowers the price of electricity for residents and many businesses. Residents would continue to be billed by ComEd, but the supply of electricity would be provided to the electrical grid by one of 23 suppliers approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission.
The referendum question that appeared on the March 20, 2012 General Primary Election ballot was:
Shall the Village of Downers Grove have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?
The Electrical Aggregation referendum was approved by voters in the March 20, 2012, General Primary Election.
Several presentations and discussions regarding electrical aggregation were provided at Village Council meetings: