Lombard officials agreed this week to revert to having ComEd supply the village with electricity because the company's rates are the lowest available.
For the second time this year, trustees on Thursday said ComEd's proposed rates are less expensive than those offered by other companies that bid to provide the village's power.
As a result, residents who are part of the village's electric aggregation program will be billed at ComEd's rate of 7.60 cents per kilowatt hour from June through September. The rate will drop to 7.42 cents per kilowatt hour for the following eight months.
Village staff members said they hoped to save residents money by seeking the second round of bids from other energy suppliers. But the lowest of those bidders, Constellation Energy, wanted to charge 7.74 cents per kilowatt hour.
Even though ComEd was the lowest bidder, its rates represent a 21 percent jump from what residents currently pay, Village Manager Scott Niehaus said.
"But in the same vein, the companies that competed through aggregation, their rates are going up even more because of the current state of the market," he said.
In April 2012, voters in Lombard approved a measure that allowed village officials to negotiate electric rates on their behalf.
Shortly after, residents and small businesses that didn't opt out of the electric aggregation program started getting their electricity from First Energy at a rate of 4.64 cents per kilowatt hour. That rate, however, expires in July.
Residents who don't want to use ComEd as their energy supplier can choose their own provider. If they are currently part of the village's electric aggregation program they can expect to receive a letter from ComEd in the coming months. It will explain that they have two bill periods to make a switch without facing a termination fee from First Energy.
Trustees Laura Fitzpatrick and Dan Whittington said they want to be sure the public is well-informed about why the village will be using ComEd again.
"We need the residents to understand that we're taking this action in their best interest and they can opt out if they want to," Whittington said.
Niehaus agreed, noting that residents can expect to find more details about the change in the next issue of the village's newsletter. He said front desk personnel at village hall also will be trained to answer questions about the switch.
"I see no reason why the village should lock its citizens into a rate which is higher than what ComEd can provide," Niehaus said, adding that in one year, village officials will solicit bids again from other suppliers.