Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced his support for a referendum on the ballot that would allow the City to explore purchasing energy in bulk on behalf of Chicagoans. Through municipal aggregation, the City could potentially garner meaningful savings for Chicago ratepayers and small businesses, and increase the City’s reliance on cleaner, renewable energy sources. The Emanuel administration also announced a new website -- www.cityofchicago.org/electricityaggregation -- as well as a series of four public community meetings to help educate residents about the potential changes and benefits that stem from municipal aggregation.
"Municipal aggregation can potentially bring meaningful savings to Chicago ratepayers and small businesses through lower monthly electric bills, and can help us increase our investment in renewable, clean energy sources. This would be a win for homeowners, a win for small businesses, and a win for clean energy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I hope that the voters of Chicago will join me in supporting this important referendum so that we can continue exploring the potential of municipal aggregation."
Under municipal aggregation, cities can negotiate an electricity supply deal on behalf of residential and small commercial customers. More than 200 Illinois towns have already established aggregation programs. If the November 6th referendum passes, the City will be able to negotiate through an open and competitive process an electricity supply agreement with a certified electricity supplier that could lower monthly electricity bills for residents and small businesses, and customers could start seeing savings near the beginning of 2013. Chicago residents and small businesses will have the opportunity to opt out of the program before it takes effect, and once customers are in the program, they will be able to leave at any time.
The City of Chicago has retained the services of the Delta Institute and former Illinois Power Agency Director Mark Pruitt to assist in evaluating the potential electricity bill savings opportunity offered by municipal aggregation. Mayor Emanuel has also asked the Delta Institute to help facilitate public input for the City in evaluation the potential of municipal aggregation, and should the City proceed with establishing a program, to engage stakeholders to identify opportunities for investing some of the anticipated savings into cleaner energy or improved energy efficiency. The City of Chicago will engage in a complete, two-phase competitive bidding process to guarantee the best savings and energy package possible. The City will first release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to potential bidders to evaluate potential suppliers. A Request for Pricing (RFP) which will then be released as soon as possible if the November referendum passes to solicit prices from only the most qualified firms.
If the City proceeds with establishing a municipal aggregation program, the transition will be seamless. Although the City will enter into a contract with an alternative supplier, ComEd will still be responsible for delivering electricity, reading meters, and responding to outages. ComEd will also continue sending monthly bills and receiving payments, and customers will be able to keep the same budget billing and automatic payment options they have now.
“ComEd supports and encourages customer energy shopping and their right to choose an alternative electricity supplier. We encourage customers to explore any opportunities to save money on their bills, whether that’s through their choice of suppliers or energy efficiency,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd. “No matter who supplies the power, our role is to deliver the electricity to homes and businesses. Customers who switch to another supplier will see no change in their service from ComEd.”
In advance of the November 6 referendum, the City is taking steps to ensure that every resident is informed about the benefits of municipal aggregation. The City will hold a series of meetings in Chicago communities across the city, the first one coming up on Tuesday, October 23 at the Arturo Velazquez Institute in the Pilsen neighborhood.
For more information on Chicago’s municipal aggregation, and updates on community meetings in their neighborhoods, residents and small commercial customers should visit: www.cityofchicago.org/electricityaggregation.
Delta Institute is a center of innovation that creates market opportunities to achieve environmental sustainability and economic development. In partnership with business, government and local communities, Delta develops and implements practical solutions to build regional economies that are job rich and inclusive. Delta focuses its work on areas that have the potential to transform difficult environmental problems to positive opportunities that create economic growth that benefits all communities. Delta is known for tackling the hard problems using creative approaches to find cost-effective sustainability that value natural resources, energy efficiency, and waste stream reductions.
After serving as the first Director of the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) from 2008-2011, Pruitt went on to organize the Illinois Community Choice Aggregation Network, in cooperation with two non-profit leaders from the energy industry: LEAN Energy U.S. and the Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation at the IL Institute of Technology. During his tenure at the IPA, Pruitt negotiated billions in energy contracts on behalf of Illinois’ residential and small commercial ratepayers. The IPA secured over $1.6 billion in energy cost savings for customers through strategic procurement planning and processes. Pruitt’s prior work includes forming aggregations for numerous state agencies and municipal governments, as well as developing energy projects developments for federal clients.
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