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updated: 9/13/2012 4:17 PM

Inverness puts electrical aggregation referendum on ballot

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Inverness officials who originally agreed that negotiating lower electricity rates on residents' behalf isn't the role of local government have reconsidered their position.

The village board has approved placing an electrical aggregation referendum on November's ballot, a move prompted by resident feedback and Chicago's decision to also put the question to voters.

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If voters approve the measure, Inverness will seek bids from power suppliers other than ComEd then switch residents and eligible businesses to that provider if its rates are lower. Residents can opt out of the program, but otherwise would be enrolled automatically.

ComEd would continue to maintain the power infrastructure and distribute electricity to Inverness customers.

"This isn't something that the village is promoting," Village Administrator Curt Carver said. "This is just giving the residents an opportunity to vote on it."

Inverness, which isn't advocating a position either way, plans to provide information in its upcoming newsletter and might send out a direct mailer to residents.

As dozens of communities joined the movement in the past year, Inverness trustees began receiving requests to consider launching the process. Officials also are concerned what the effect on the marketplace will be if the city of Chicago turns to an alternate provider.

In communities that made the switch earlier this year, including Palatine, Arlington Heights and Buffalo Grove, customers were expected to receive savings of more than 30 percent.

Rosemont and Schaumburg also will seek voter approval for electrical aggregation in November.

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