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posted: 2/29/2012 5:00 AM

Yes to negotiate electricity prices

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

It's not often voters face a referendum asking for permission to help them save money, but residents in dozens of suburban communities will face such a question March 20. The technical term is electrical aggregation, but what it amounts to is giving a town permission to negotiate with companies other than ComEd to supply electricity. On its face, it appears to be a classic no-brainer. By combining consumers into a group, communities leverage greater buying power and presumably -- but not guaranteed -- achieve lower rates for electricity. The most controversial feature is that residents who don't want to participate would have to "opt out." But public hearings are required, and residents who think they can get better rates on their own will have two prominent chances to turn the program down. No matter who supplies electricity to a community, ComEd will still provide service, delivery and billing, so any change essentially will be seamless for consumers. We recommend a yes vote.

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