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Harvard locks low rate deal with Direct Energy

HARVARD – The city has locked in an energy rate as part of its new opt-out aggregation program.

Voters in April passed a citywide referendum to allow Harvard to shop for energy rates through outside brokers. Through a bidding process that also involved several other municipalities, including Fox River Grove, the city was able to lock in a lower rate than what residents currently are paying ComEd, city officials have said.

Residents will see little change in their bill, other than a noticeable cost savings, Harvard Mayor Jay Nolan said.

“Nothing changes,” Nolan said. “The billing is the same. We’re just trying to save our residents some dollars.”

The bill will come from ComEd, but actual energy flowing into residents’ homes and businesses will come from Direct Energy, which was the lowest of eight bidders sought on behalf the municipalities by Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative.

The savings amounts to about 10 percent to 12 percent off the total bill, but the electricity charges result in about a 20 percent to 23 percent savings, Nolan said. Transmission and distribution charges, regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission, still will be paid to ComEd.

The city has locked in a rate with Direct Energy from October through the September 2013 for 5.99 cents per kilowatt hour. Senior citizens are eligible for a discounted price of 5.89 cents per kilowatt hour. Those interested in renewable energy can use Direct Energy’s Renewable Wind Product for 6.29 cents per kilowatt hour. ComEd charges 7.64 cents per kilowatt hour, City Administrator Dave Nelson said.

The fees to hire NIMEC to seek the lowest bids are paid for by Direct Energy, Nelson said.

Residents in Harvard will be getting a letter describing the program, Nelson said. Those who wish to opt out of the program, either keeping their same provider or trying to secure a lower deal for themselves, must mail the letter back to Direct Energy.

For information, call Direct Energy at 866-760-6040.

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