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updated: 11/20/2012 11:09 PM

Bartlett puts electric aggregation on ballot again

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Bartlett residents will get a second chance to decide if they want the village to solicit bids from electricity suppliers other than ComEd.

The village board agreed to put a municipal electric aggregation referendum on the April 9 ballot with a 5-1 vote Tuesday. Trustee Dennis Nolan was absent. Trustee Frank Napolitano, who has openly expressed his opposition to electric aggregation in the past, voted no.

"I still don't believe this is the role of government," he said.

Trustees Patricia Kelly and Eric Shipman, along with Village President Michael Airdo, said they were taking into account the fact that numerous residents have expressed interest in putting the referendum on the ballot for a second time.

"They were encouraging us to revisit this issue again," Shipman said. "This doesn't cut the deal, per se. This opens up the question to them again."

Kelly added that "any savings to our residents is important."

Savings ranged from 35 to 51 percent for more than a dozen municipalities near Bartlett that passed the referendum earlier this year and started contacts with a third-party supplier, according to a chart issued to the board by village staff in August.

Airdo said he would like to discuss at a future committee meeting how the village will go about educating residents about the issue.

The village placed the same question on the March ballot, but the issue was voted down by 60.7 percent. Prior to that election, the village provided information about electric aggregation in the village newsletter, cable channel, website and at village hall.

In August, the village board discussed putting the referendum on the ballot for the November election, but decided it was best to wait until the spring 2013 election to try again.

Any resident or small business in the village that has already signed up for a third-party electricity supplier will not be included in the aggregation program, should it pass in the spring.

If voters approve the measure in the spring, all residents and small businesses that still have ComEd at the time will be automatically enrolled in the program, with an option to opt out.

Any bid for the village's aggregate electricity rate would take place next summer, after ComEd's new rate, which is still unknown, goes into effect on June 1.

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