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updated: 4/11/2013 5:07 PM

Electric aggregation fails again in Bartlett

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Bartlett voters for a second time have rejected a plan for the village to solicit bids from electricity suppliers other than ComEd to potentially save residents and small businesses on their power bills.

With all 37 precincts reporting in Cook, Kane and DuPage counties -- Kane County precinct results were added early Wednesday morning -- only 1,674 Bartlett voters backed electric aggregation Tuesday night, and 4,178 opposed it, according to unofficial totals.

After a similar referendum failed in March 2012, the village board discussed putting the referendum on the ballot in the November general election, but decided to wait until April to try again.

Trustees Patricia Kelly and Eric Shipman, along with Village President Michael Airdo, said many residents were interested in putting the question on the ballot a second time.

Village President-elect Kevin Wallace said he couldn't put a finger on why residents would think electric aggregation is a bad thing.

"I don't really know what the residents are objecting to," he said. "It seems to me ... that it would be a benefit."

Savings ranged from 35 to 51 percent in more than a dozen municipalities near Bartlett that passed electrical aggregation last year and signed contacts with third-party suppliers, according to information collected by the village staff in August.

Communities that back aggregation negotiate with power companies other than ComEd to obtain lower rates for residents and small business. ComEd would continue to maintain the electrical infrastructure and address outages.

In Hanover Township, an electrical aggregation measure passed Tuesday.

Steve Bosco, assistant to the Bartlett village administrator, said if the new board chooses, they can put the referendum on the ballot again.

But Wallace said now that the question has been on the ballot twice, it is unlikely residents will be pleased if the village puts time into asking a third time.

The exact amount of savings residents could have experienced through aggregation is unknown, but Bosco said the village would have waited to make any moves on choosing a new supplier until ComEd's new rate went into effect in June.

"They are (likely) going down, which is what we expected," he said of ComEd's rate. "The savings may not be as much as they had been (elsewhere)."

He added, however, that the village could choose to reject the bids of other suppliers and stayed with ComEd.

Trustee Frank Napolitano, who has been adamantly opposed to electric aggregation, said he believes the village went above and beyond to educate residents about the issue the second time around.

"I think part of the reason (the measure was rejected) is people don't like being asked the same question multiple times," he said. "People get a little frustrated with that."

"It's just the people in Bartlett don't want the government to pick their electric supplier," Napolitano added.

If residents want, there are other options to save money, he noted.

"People already have the option to go save money on their electric bill," he said. "It doesn't have to be aggregated with other people's electric choice. Everybody's got their own choice."

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