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posted: 10/29/2012 12:08 PM

Dundee Township to try for electric aggregation

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This election cycle, Dundee Township residents will have an opportunity to see lower electricity bills by voting yes though referendum on electric aggregation.

Dundee Township has devised a ballot question that every voter living in Dundee Township will see on the upcoming ballot, whether living in a village or in an unincorporated area. A "yes" vote would let township leaders negotiate for lower electric rates for people living in unincorporated Dundee Township.

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But the measure would only affect the people living in unincorporated parts of Dundee Township, Township Supervisor Sue Harney said.

For example, if you live in West Dundee, which already approved electric aggregation, voting no won't change that.

If approved, unincorporated residents would save money on 70 percent of their electric bill -- the savings would come from the supply portion of the bill, Harney said.

"To someone who's on a fixed income, even $5 a month, that's $60 a year," Harney said. "That's something to have."

If the measure passes, township leaders will send letters to unincorporated residents that explain how to opt out of the program. Someone who doesn't want to be part of the program would need to write a letter to the township. But someone who wants in doesn't have to do anything.

Dundee Township was a little late to the game when it came to getting on the ballot,

The state passed legislation in late August or early September that allowed townships to get involved in electric aggregation. The township didn't get word about that until much later and officials rushed to submit to Kane County a day before the deadline, Harney said.

The late entry also meant there wasn't enough time to spread the word about the referendum.

Notice has solely been word-of-mouth and there is nothing mentioned about the referendum on the township website.

The township has done nothing to promote the ballot question because it had been under the impression that one of the potential suppliers could do a public campaign at no cost to the township.

But around late September or early October, the township's attorney advised officials they would have to bid that service out because that company would only do the campaign if it could get the contract to supply the power to residents if the measure passed, Harney said. That would have kept the township from entertaining cheaper rates from other companies.

As well, the township didn't send out any mailings on its own because that would have cost thousands of dollars -- money the township cannot afford to spent. Moreover, officials aren't as educated on the issue as they should be.

"We are not prepared to mount an advertising campaign," Harney said.

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