Algonquin, Woodstock, Huntley, Ringwood, Lakewood set new electricity rates

Five McHenry County communities will have new electricity rates beginning in August.

The Northern Illinois Governmental Electric Aggregation Consortium, which includes Algonquin, Huntley, Lakewood, Ringwood and Woodstock, as well as Genoa, recently completed a bidding process and agreed to renew with current supplier, Direct Energy, for an additional 12 months at a fixed rate of 7.2 cents per kWh, according to a news release.

ComEd recently announced that its electricity supply charge will be 7.59 cents per kWh through September. That price does not include the Purchased Energy Adjustment (PEA) ComEd is allowed to charge at a maximum of 0.5 cents per kWh.

NIGEAC's current contract with Direct Energy, which has a rate of 4.9867 cents per kWh, ends in July.

With higher rates, longer-term contracts such as three years would not have produced significant savings in later years, said Woodstock City Manager Roscoe Stelford.

Mark Burns, the president of Independent Energy Consultants, which assisted NIGEAC, estimated the savings for the average customer would be $80 over the course of the year.

"Unfortunately, the prolonged and bitter cold winter has driven energy prices higher and capacity costs have soared as a result of the retirement of many coal-fired generating plants across the Midwest," Burns said. "We see higher offers in other communities and in the default rates from ComEd.”

Algonquin residents, who have not chosen their own alternate retail electricity supplier, will start receiving electricity from Direct Energy when the new contract goes into effect. Voters in Algonquin in March approved a referendum allowing the village to start a municipal aggregation program.

The village then joined the NIGEAC consortium in an effort to obtain even better electricity rates.

According to a news release, residents and small commercial electricity customers in Woodstock, Ringwood, Huntley, Lakewood and Genoa have saved more than $6.2 million during the first 18 months of the aggregation program.

Direct Energy will send letters to residents to give them the option to opt out of the municipal aggregation program, according to a news release. Residents will have 21 days to do so.

In a municipal aggregation program, residents and small commercial businesses still receive their bills from ComEd, which still maintains the power lines, reads meters and responds during power outages.

The only change is from where the electricity supply comes.

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