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Article updated: 6/15/2012 3:14 PM

Hanover Park to bid alone for electric aggregation

By Kimberly Pohl

Hanover Park has jumped aboard the electric aggregation bandwagon, and though the village will go it alone, officials promise residents and small businesses will realize the same level of savings as others.

Hanover Park next week will begin seeking bids to negotiate energy supply costs through an alternate retail electric provider, nearly three months after 70 percent of voters approved the effort via referendum in the March primary.

Many communities opted to form partnerships, thinking a larger but still manageable population would provide more leverage to achieve better rates.

The consortium of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Palatine, Vernon Hills and Wheeling, for example, has about 260,000 people and selected Integrys Energy Services in April.

Trustee Ed Zimel asked why Hanover Park didn't team with others.

David Hoover of the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative, which is assisting Hanover Park on its plan of operation, responded that the village's population of roughly 40,000 people is sufficient.

"They say size doesn't matter," Hoover said. "They're interested in some other dynamics ... you won't be punished."

Hoover said the communities represented by NIMEC are saving "just north" of 40 percent on the cents per kilowatt hour rate. Earlier this month, Elgin locked in a rate of 4.915 cents per kilowatt compared to ComEd's average rate of 7.73 cents, which fluctuates throughout the year.

The electricity usage portion of a utility bill makes up about two-thirds of the total.

Hanover Park held the required two public hearings on the issue without concerns arising, and the board has given the plan its go-ahead.

Hoover expects residents' utility bills to be lower through at least May 2013. After that, ComEd's energy price is expected to fall due to the expiration of contracts that locked in higher rates. There's increased competition with more than 20 suppliers offering electricity due to the state's deregulation of energy markets.

Residents and small businesses who are ComEd customers will automatically be enrolled in the electric aggregation program, but can opt out if they so choose.

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