Algonquin begins electric aggregation process

ALGONQUIN – With voters in town giving the thumbs up to municipal electric aggregation for residents and small commercial customers, the village is preparing to start its program.

Village Board members began considering on Tuesday a plan of operations and governance and an agreement with the Northern Illinois Governmental Electric Aggregation Consortium, which already includes Genoa, Woodstock, Huntley, Lakewood and Ringwood. Board members agreed to vote on joining the consortium next week.

Public hearings on the village's aggregation program are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at Ganek Municipal Center.

If a 2012 electric aggregation referendum had been successful in Algonquin, the village would have joined the consortium, said Village President John Schmitt. However, that referendum failed by nine votes.

A referendum last week passed by a much wider margin.

The communities currently in the consortium have secured an electric rate of 4.9867 cents per KWH for their residents. The consortium's current contract with supplier Direct Energy ends in May, according to pluginillinois.org. The ComEd rate is 5.523 cents per KWH when including the transmission services charge.

The consortium is scheduled to go out for bid again on electricity rates in April, said Assistant Village Manager Mike Kumbera.

If there are favorable bid results for alternate electric suppliers, residents may see a change in rates as soon as July or August, Kumbera said.

Village Manager Tim Schloneger said joining the consortium would be beneficial.

"Moving forward, going out to bid, [joining] will help us aggregate our communities, plus our Algonquin community, which should hit the sweet spot for the size … to get us the best prices," Schloneger said.

By pooling resources with other communities, the village is aiming to take advantage of the economies of scale of all the participating towns and secure a lower energy rate than it would have been able to individually, according to a staff memo.

In communities where energy aggregation programs are in place, residents are billed for electricity through ComEd and use ComEd-owned grids, but the electricity flowing into each home and small business could come from a different source. ComEd maintains the infrastructure and responds to calls during power outages.

Even though voters approved municipal aggregation, residents can still opt out of the program and receive electricity supply from ComEd or through another supplier.

Other items

Village Board members on Tuesday moved three proposed projects forward for a vote.

The Village Board next week is scheduled to vote on whether to approve proposed projects by Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, Gander Mountain and the Algonquin Wellness Center and Med Spa.

Goodwill plans to locate in the former True Value Building at 1430 E. Algonquin Road and needs a special-use permit for the project.

Retail chain Gander Mountain wants to build a 52,000-square-foot store at 1400 S. Randall Road and needs approval of its final planned unit development.

Algonquin Wellness Center wants to build a 14,120-square-foot medical office building at 2430 Esplanade Drive and needs a special-use permit to move forward.

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