Village Board authorizes electricity referendum

By on January 14, 2011

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove residents living within the city limits could soon have an electricity supplier other than ComEd.

The Village Board on Tuesday voted 4-0 to authorize an ordinance for an electricity program referendum that would provide the village with the option to move its residents’ accounts from ComEd to an alternative, lower-cost electricity supplier.

The referendum will be placed on the April 5 ballot.

According to a document issued by Village Finance Director Justin Vanvooren, the opportunity for residents to go with an alternate, lower-cost electric supplier is the result of the state of Illinois’ deregulation of the electric market. But while over 75 percent of the commercial market has elected to go with alternate suppliers, not many residential households have made the switch. Therefore, an amendment was made to the initial deregulation, giving a municipality the option to move the entire community over to an alternate electricity supplier.

“A lot of people haven’t picked up on (the option go with an alternate electricity supplier), probably because the savings per individual haven’t been significant enough,” Village President Sean Michels said. “But when you take it for 4,000 homes, it turns into substantial savings.”

If the referendum passes, the village will consider bids from alternate electricity suppliers. However, the village will only go with an alternate supplier if their service is offered at a cost lower than ComEd’s rate. And even if the village chooses to use a lower-cost supplier, any resident who wishes to return to using ComEd service can do so.

“I hate to use the term, but (this referendum) really seems like a no-brainer, because it’s an opportunity for residents to save some money,” Michels said. “Saving every resident $10 a month could turn into $500,000 for the community. I am hoping residents support it, and if they have questions, I hope they’ll ask them ahead of time instead of just voting this down.”

Michels said Elburn is also considering the electricity program referendum.

“This is an opportunity where we can really help the residents out, and it’s something both Elburn and Sugar Grove should be promoting,” he said.

A minimum of two public hearings is required to properly inform the voting public prior to the April 5 ballot.