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Article updated: 4/30/2013 4:00 PM

Seven North, Northwest suburbs to continue electric aggregation

By Kimberly Pohl

The seven North and Northwest suburbs that partnered early on in the widespread electric aggregation trend have saved millions of dollars in the first year of the contract, so they've decided to pursue a second.

Officials in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Palatine, Vernon Hills and Wheeling each recently approved an amended intergovernmental agreement allowing them to again seek an alternate energy supplier.

Palatine Village Manager Reid Ottesen said the group's intention is to retain a consultant and negotiate with their current vendor, Integrys Energy.

"We're on track by the end of June to save (Palatine) residents and small businesses over $5 million," Ottesen said. "I don't anticipate as large of savings, but we're still probably looking at double-digit (percent) savings over ComEd."

Savings are expected to drop as energy prices decrease. If ComEd's cents per kilowatt hour rate was to fall significantly, the communities are protected because Integrys' contract requires the alternative energy supplier to match it.

Ottesen said sticking with Integrys would make the process easier for consumers, but officials will make sure the company's rates are competitive. He said they've tracked the rates secured by other suburbs and know what the market is bearing right now. They hope to finalize pricing this week.

"It's a great program and an outstanding win (for the village)," Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz said.

Palatine officials said the village will better highlight the program to new residents so they know they have to opt in. When the contract began, residents and small businesses were enrolled automatically unless they opted out.

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