November is months away, but the Village of Glen Ellyn will soon begin to share information to help educate residents about a referenda question that will be on the ballot.
Along with voting for president, residents in Glen Ellyn will be asked to decide whether they are for or against electric aggregation.
Illinois law allows municipalities and counties to purchase electricity on behalf of residents and small-business consumers, according to the Illinois Citizens Utility Board. Municipalities choosing aggregation negotiate the price of power from a supplier other than a traditional utility, but the utility company is still responsible for delivering that power to homes, and billing consumers for it.
The referenda question will ask residents:
Should the Village of Glen Ellyn have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?
The village board approved placing the question on the ballot during its last board meeting in July.
The board began discussing the option of aggregation back in 2011 and continued the discussion earlier this year, said Kristen Schrader, assistant to the village manager.
The village considered whether aggregation was a worthwhile option and if it chose to pursue it, would the program be set up to allow residents to opt in or opt out.
If the measure passes in November, residents would need to opt out if they did not want to participate, she said.
Aggregation allows communities to use the collective bargaining power of residents to negotiate for lower power prices from suppliers, according to the Citizens Utility Board.
“It’s been shown by other communities that have gone through the process that you are able to obtain lower electric rates than residents are currently paying and also provides the option to look at green energy options,” Schrader said.
Over the next several months the Village of Glen Ellyn will begin to provide information to residents online and through village communications, such as its newsletter, to explain what aggregation is and what it means for electric consumers, Schrader said.
Along with approving the ballot question at its last meeting, the Board of Trustees also approved a contract with Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative, she said. The cooperative will assist the village throughout the process both in providing educational information and, if the ballot question is approved, through the request for proposals.
If voters approve the ballot measure, the village would then ask for electric rate proposals. The purpose is to get rates that are advantageous to consumers, she said.
“We will do whatever is best for Glen Ellyn residents,” she said. “All signs indicated rates would be lower than what residents currently pay.”