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updated: 1/25/2012 9:25 PM

Elk Grove Village urges residents to opt in for energy savings

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Elk Grove Village officials are urging residents to switch to a new energy provider to save on their electric bills.

The village is partnering with Clean Air Counts and Integrys Energy Group to offer residents the choice of opting into an electrical aggregation program to save money, Mayor Craig Johnson said.

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The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus negotiated the deal with Integrys so residents of its member municipalities who choose to switch their energy supplier -- currently ComEd -- could start saving nearly 20 percent on their electric bills.

"If you opt in, you are locked in until May 2013," Johnson said. "The average homeowner will save approximately $200. You can opt in right away starting tomorrow. It takes 30 days to get up and going. If you decide to opt out of it once it starts, there is a $50 fee."

Elk Grove Village isn't the first and likely won't be the last town to switch to Integrys, said Eve Pytel, assistant director of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.

"We have program participants from over 65 communities and we have 15 communities that have officially embraced the (opt-in) program," Pytel said.

Pytel said another 110 caucus member municipalities have decided to ask voters through referendums whether they want shared electricity service from a vendor other than ComEd as part of a package deal through their village or city. That process could take six to eight months, she added.

"Our (opt-in) program is just another option for municipalities that feel they don't want to devote their resources to opt out," Pytel said. "It enables you to get your savings immediately."

Residents who switch their electric supply by going to integrysenergy.com/esp would still receive a bill from ComEd with Integrys listed as the energy supplier.

"The energy section of the bill would be reduced from ComEd's effective rate of 7.7 cents (per kilowatt hour) to 6.2 cents because we've negotiated with a third-party supplier," Pytel said. "The energy supplier is essentially 60 percent of the cost of the bill. The other parts are delivery fees and taxes, and we have no control over it."

Should ComEd's price drop significantly lower than Integrys, residents' bills would automatically default to ComEd as the energy provider, she added.

"Right now, ComEd's prices are above the market, but eventually that aberration is going to minimize and their price is going to drop too," Pytel said. "Experts in the marketplace believe that ComEd's prices will drop significantly by June 2013."

Participants of the opt-in program also are entitled to receive four compact fluorescent light bulbs as part of the Clean Air Counts program to reduce pollution.

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