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Harvard to suspend electrical aggregation, higher electricity bills expected

By: JOSEPH BUSTOS |

Residents next month should start expecting higher electricity bills.

Harvard plans to suspend its electric aggregation program because the latest bids from suppliers came in higher than ComEd’s rates, said City Administrator David Nelson.

“We are going to go with [ComEd] for a one-year period with the intent to bid it again in July or August,” Nelson said.

In the latest set of bids, which the city rejected, three companies submitted proposals to the city.

Constellation Energy proposed providing energy for 7.77 cents per kilowatt-hour. Homefield Energy proposed a rate of 7.757 cents per kwh. Verde Energy proposed 8.241 cents per kwh.

ComEd’s rate is scheduled to be 7.72 cents per kwh through May 2015.

The city’s previous one-year contract was with Homefield Energy at 5.411 cents per kwh.

In recent bids for electrical aggregation contracts, municipalities have seen electricity rates come much closer to ComEd’s rates creating a smaller margin of savings.

Harvard started its municipal aggregation program in 2011 after a referendum passed. According to a post on the city’s website, it is estimated the average household would save $400 through the end of this month on its electricity bill.

Communitywide, the savings is estimated to be near $900,000, the city said.

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.

Residents who have participated in the aggregation program will be moved to ComEd’s supply or may look for another supplier if they choose. Residents have two billing cycles to switch to another supplier, or would have to remain with ComEd for a year, the city notice said.

The city also recommended people go to www.pluginillinois.org to compare prices from different energy suppliers.