Electrical aggregation is a program where Illinois municipalities and counties may, following voter approval through a referendum, bid the cost of electricity for their entire jurisdiction and award a contract to an electrical supplier to provide electricity to their residents. The primary reason to create such a program is to help residents and certain small businesses lower their utility costs. The Village of Gurnee has created such a program following approval of a referendum held on March 20, 2012. The Village bid and awarded a one-year electrical supply contract to FirstEnergy Solutions of Ohio (FES) later that year with a second contract awarded in the next year. In April 2014, the Village awarded a third contract to FES. Under this contract, residents and certain small businesses can purchase their electricity at a cost of 6.69 cents per kilowatt hour, a savings of roughly 8% over ComEd's anticipated rate (7.2 cents per kilowatt hour) for a three-year period ending in mid-2017. As of June 2016, the Village further amended the contract to lower the rate for the final year of the plan to 6.27 cents per kilowatt hour. If you have a pre-existing contract with another supplier or are new to the Village, you are not automatically included in the program and must "opt-in" in order to participate if you so desire. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the program.
1. What is Electrical Aggregation?
Electrical aggregation is simply the ability of the Village to negotiate directly with a supplier for the cost of electricity (purchased by kilowatt hour) that can be consumed by the Village’s residents. The Village has the ability to leverage the size of the population in negotiations, and this generally results in greater discounts. Think of it in terms of buying in bulk - you receive greater discounts because you can buy more. In the Village's case, this led to a savings of almost 8% off the cost of electricity.
2. How does Electrical Aggregation Impact Me?
Aggregation will have no impact upon you as an individual beyond the savings you will receive by participating. To understand what this fully means, you have to have a general understanding of how electricity is purchased and distributed. Below is a quick overview of why aggregation works by looking at the companies involved in electrical power:
Generation Companies: These companies generate electric power. Aggregation has no impact on them.
Supplier Companies: These companies purchase power from the generators for resale. Aggregation solely impacts your relationship with the supplier by letting the Village act as a buyer for all residents in the Village.
Transmitter Companies: A transmitter company is responsible for operating the grid that brings power to your home. ComEd is the transmitter for most of the northern Illinois. Aggregation has no impact on the transmitter companies.
Consumers: You, your neighbors and local businesses are all consumers and receive the benefit of participating in this program.
As you can see, the only relationship that changes is the supplier. Therefore, you will not see a change in service - just a change in the cost of purchasing power.
3. If I am not automatically included in the program, how do I opt-in?
Contact FirstEnergy Solutions at (1-866) 636-3749, and they will be able to assist you in opting-in.
4. Is the FES Rate Guaranteed?
Yes. Under the current contract, the cost of 6.27 cents per kilowatt hour is guaranteed through July 2017 when the contract expires. If the ComEd billing rate should drop below FES's rate at any point of the contract, residents will have the option to opt-out without penalty or the Village may simply cancel the contract and return all customers to ComEd.
5. If I am in the program and want to leave (or "opt-out"), can I do so?
Yes. Under the new contract, you may opt-out at any time without penalty.
6. What happens at the end of this contract?
The Village will again bid for the cost of electricity. If no company can match or underbid the ComEd rate, all customers will most likely be sent back to ComEd.
7. How does billing work under aggregation?
All billing is still completed by ComEd. The only changes you will see on your bill will be under the "electrical supply" section where FES will now be listed as your supplier. There will be no separate bills sent to you from FES.
8. If there is an outage, who do I contact?
ComEd will still complete all maintenance and repairs of the electrical grid. In there is an outage, contact ComEd to report it at (1-800) EDISON1.
9. Who can I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact either FES at (1-866) 636-3749 or the Village Hall at (847) 599-7500.