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updated: 4/15/2014 5:39 PM

Drop notices sent to residents by mistake

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Integrys Energy Services has responded to claims that an incorrect "Confirmation of Drop" notice was sent to customers around the Chicago suburbs.

A statement from the company read, "As Integrys Energy Services was not selected to serve the Northwest Consortium for a new term, we notified ComEd that we would no longer be the supplier of record for the aggregation participants effective with May, 2014 meter reads. This is common industry practice when an aggregation customer doesn't renew for an additional term to ensure the supplier does not serve customers without their consent, beyond the contract period. This fact was communicated to the Consortium's consultant, prior to Integrys' notification to ComEd."

The letter sent to residents in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Palatine, Wheeling and Vernon Hills, caused confusion for residents and towns participating in municipal aggregation and stated that residents' accounts would be dropped by Integrys and moved back to ComEd.

These communities -- all members of the Northwest Electric Aggregation Consortium -- recently negotiated a new contract with a different energy supplier, Constellation.

In May, the account of any resident who did not opt out of municipal aggregation will be switched directly from Integrys to Constellation, according to notes on several village websites.

"That letter was sent in error. The village had no involvement in this error; ComEd also had no involvement in this error, but simply followed the direction of the previous supplier, Integrys Energy," said a note on the Palatine village website.

"The error was due to Integrys sending accounts back to ComEd prematurely which is both contrary to standard industry protocol as well as contrary to the process they had confirmed to undertake," the note read.

Residents "will very shortly receive a correct letter from ComEd confirming their enrollment with Constellation," the note indicated.

Under the new contract with Constellation Energy Resources, residents will be charged 6.62 center per kilowatt hour, an increase from the rate of 5.58 center per kilowatt hour under Integrys but still a savings over ComEd's rates. Through municipal aggregations, towns receive a lower rate for electricity from a third-party company, while the billing and actual energy service is still delivered through ComEd.

ComEd said in a statement: "ComEd is required by law to send letters to customers when they switch suppliers in order to provide the information they need to make purchasing decisions. In addition, the energy suppliers requested the letters be sent. ComEd supports competition and choice for customers to explore any opportunities to save money on their electric bills, whether through their energy supplier or energy efficiency. In those instances where ComEd is the electricity supplier, the utility passes on those energy costs without profit or markup."

Officials from each suburb suggested residents with any questions contact their own villages.

"Residents need not take any action based on this notice. The consortium and village governments apologize for any inconvenience caused by this error," stated a note on Lincolnshire's website.

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