While the monthly savings are expected to be reduced, Lake Zurich residents and small businesses should continue receiving electricity from a provider at a cheaper rate than ComEd's.
Under a new contract with Homefield Energy starting in July, Lake Zurich's residential customers and small businesses will pay 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour in the first two years. The rate will drop to 6.35 cents per kilowatt hour in the deal's third and final year.
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Village officials were told ComEd is projected to charge nearly 8 cents per kilowatt hour beginning in July. Homefield's rate will average 6.9 cents over the three years.
Lake Zurich's latest contract was secured by the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative. The organization obtained Lake Zurich's expiring 4.75-cent rate with FirstEnergy Solutions in July 2012 as part of a consortium with Crystal Lake, Yorkville and South Elgin.
ComEd's price was 8.3 cents in 2012 and 5.8 cents in the second year. Lake Zurich officials calculated that households saved an average of $247 in supply costs last year by receiving their electricity from FirstEnergy rather than ComEd through what's called municipal aggregation.
"These are real dollars," electric cooperative Executive Director David Hoover told the village board during a recent presentation. "We know communities that did not aggregate and we know what they paid."
Hoover said the price gap has narrowed between alternative providers and ComEd, which is why Lake Zurich consumers won't save as much in the new deal with Homefield Energy.
Lake Zurich and a host of other towns received voter approval to participate in municipal electricity aggregation. The concept is that suburbs can use the collective bargaining power of residents and small commercial accounts to bargain for lower power prices from suppliers.
Responding to a query from Trustee Jonathan Sprawka, Hoover said Lake Zurich was not grouped with other villages for the new contract running through June 2017. He said his organization has found getting the best price from an alternative energy provider is a complicated process that rewards towns using more electricity.
"We find that (population) size does not actually dictate the best pricing in negotiation," Hoover said. "Basically, aggregations in and of themselves have enough mass to warrant attractive pricing."
Elsewhere, Gurnee's new rate of 6.69 cents per kilowatt hour for the next three years will begin in July through a contract with FirstEnergy. Libertyville's rate will be at 6.54 cents under a three-year deal with FirstEnergy that also begins in July.