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updated: 10/1/2012 7:46 PM

Lake Barrington to vote on electric aggregation

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Lake Barrington officials have changed their minds about the merits of electrical aggregation and will put a referendum on the village's Nov. 6 ballot.

Among the few Northwest suburban communities who sat out last spring's wave of aggregation referendums, Lake Barrington seemed to have one of the strongest reasons.

The gated community of Lake Barrington Shores -- which makes up a large percentage of the village -- has had its own cost-saving agreement with ComEd since the 1970s. Officials believed that deal couldn't be improved upon by opting out of ComEd service, Village Administrator Christopher Martin said.

But as other communities found new electric suppliers in the past few months, that assumption was found to be wrong.

"Rates came in significantly lower than anyone had anticipated," Martin said.

There is also further clarity now as to how the aggregation process works, he added.

While Lake Barrington Shores originally was cited as a reason to not seek aggregation, it is now hoped to be the village's greatest asset in finding lower rates for everyone, Martin said.

The gated community is all-electric, with none of its power or heat coming from natural gas. As a result, village officials believe many suppliers would be eager to land a contract with Lake Barrington.

Even if voters approve the measure, village officials are not required to abandon current arrangements with ComEd. Martin described the referendum as a "hunting license," authorizing officials to track down the lowest rates they can find.

Village trustees Tuesday night will decide whether to enter an agreement with the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative Inc. that would take effect only if voters approve.

As it's done with many other communities, the collaborative would assist in the bidding process to find a new electric supplier. Under the agreement, the collaborative would be compensated by the winning bidder, not the village itself.

Other Northwest suburban villages holding electricity aggregation referendums Nov. 6 are Inverness, Rosemont and Schaumburg.

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