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Village of Cary hooks up with power provider

CARY – The village has its new energy provider.

First Energy Solutions, based in Ohio, will begin supplying electricity to residents and small commercial customers in town beginning in November. The Village Board approved the contract Tuesday.

Voters approved a referendum in March allowing the village to move forward with an electrical aggregation program.

There are about 5,700 eligible accounts. First Energy will have to use 100 percent “green power” for Cary and enter into a two-year contract.

As part of the bid specifications, residents will not have an early-termination fee if they leave the aggregation program. First Energy also will have to match ComEd’s rates if ComEd has a lower rate after price adjustments. The soonest adjustment is expected in June.

First Energy was one of six providers to submit proposals to the village.

ComEd currently charges 8.36 cents per kilowatt hour. First Energy proposed 4.99 cents per kilowatt hour.

During the first six months, the typical home is expected to save about $142.66 on its electric bill, said Cris Papierniak, the village’s pubic works director.

Because energy loads increase during the summer, the savings could approach $300 a year, said David Hoover, executive director of the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative, the village’s energy aggregation consultant.

The lowest bid was from Verde, a privately owned company out of Maine. Verde provided 4.861 cents per kilowatt hour.

“We selected First Energy because of their customer service rating and their experience,” said Mayor Tom Kierna.

First Energy has done about 500 aggregations in the United States, of which 96 are in Illinois. It also has a higher customer service rating than Verde from the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Going with Verde would have saved a typical resident about $10 more a year than First Energy. But Verde is a small company that has entered into only a handful of electrical aggregation contracts, officials said.

“It’s difficult to check on Verde’s background,” said Village Administrator Chris Clark. “They haven’t completed a full aggregation contract ... We want to be certain we pick a firm that can do the work.”

Residents may opt out of the electrical aggregation program. The village estimates 20 percent of residents will opt out or already have switched to their own energy supplier.

In an electric aggregation program, ComEd will distribute the electricity, maintain all of the electrical infrastructure and respond to calls during power losses.

In other action: The Village Board approved the purchase of 800 square feet for right of way for roadway improvements on Jandus Cutoff, and 4,800 square feet for a temporary easement when construction takes place.

“Obtaining the necessary parcels prior to completing Phase 2 engineering will help facilitate the necessary state improvements,” according to a memo to the Village Board.

The purchase is not to exceed $10,000.

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