Illinois law allows communities to band together through an Intergovernmental Agency process to help achieve efficiencies amongst the participating communities. Six cities/villages within McHenry, Kane and DeKalb Counties have come together to form the Northern Illinois Governmental Electric Aggregation Consortium (NIGEAC). The NIGEAC is comprised of the Cities of Genoa and Woodstock and the Villages of Algonquin, Huntley, Lakewood and Ringwood.
By combining our communities we are able to achieve efficiencies and increase our bargaining power with Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES). We have retained Independent Energy Consultants, Inc. at no cost to the taxpayers to assist us with the design, implementation and administration of our program. Independent Energy Consultants is licensed by the Illinois Commerce Commission as an Agent/Broker/Consultant and is a pioneer in the field of Governmental Aggregation for electric and natural gas programs.
Electric Aggregation Program Update
Residents in the Cities of Genoa and Woodstock and the Villages of Huntley, Lakewood and Ringwood passed Electric Aggregation ballot initiatives on March 20, 2012. The Village of Algonquin passed the ballot initiative on March 18 ,2014. This gives officials in those communities the authority, but not the obligation, to pursue an electric aggregation program through the efforts of NIGEAC. Following passage of the ballot, the NIGEAC communities each held two Public Hearings to explain their Plan of Operation and Governance. Those Plans are identical and are used by NIGEAC to administer the Aggregation Program.
NIGEAC, working through its consultant, Independent Energy Consultants, also completed a competitive process and again selected Direct Energy as the Program's supplier. Direct Energy is an Alternative Retail Electric Supplier (ARES) and their charges will replace the shoppable generation and transmission charges from the local utility company, Commonwealth Edison, (ComEd).
With “opt-out” aggregation programs all eligible residential and small commercial customers are included in the program unless they decide to opt-out. The participation rate for opt-out programs tends to be very high, and because of this, suppliers may be able to pass on lower rates. This program presents another option for our residents and small businesses in their attempts to manage their energy costs.
This program impacts only those residents and small businesses in the NIGEAC communities. This program does not guarantee savings but does present another valuable option for our residents and small businesses in their attempts to manage their energy costs.
State legislators have used a phased-in approach to deregulate the Illinois electric markets. It began in 1997 when the largest industrial customers were afforded the ability to choose an ARES. We have now reached the final stage of deregulation, and not only do individual residents have the right to choose their ARES, but communities can form Opt-Out Aggregation Programs to leverage that bulk buying power. Most of the residential and small commercial customer switching and savings are expected to come through Governmental Aggregation Programs similar to what NIGEAC is offering.
Electric Aggregation Frequently Asked Questions
What is an “opt-out electric aggregation program”?
Electric aggregation is a process that allows governments to pool, or aggregate, the electric usage needs of residents and small businesses. Local governments are then able to seek lower pricing for their residents and small businesses through a competitive bid process. Opt-out programs generally have high participation rates and thereby greater bargaining power than individuals have to negotiate lower electric rates from Alternative Retail Electric Suppliers (ARES). Eligible residents and small businesses are included in the program and permitted to opt-out, if they chose not to participate. The process is being modeled after successful programs in other states that have over 10-years experience with Governmental Aggregation programs.
How will I sign up for the program? Do I Have to Participate?Eligible residents and small businesses will receive an opt-out letter from Direct Energy that explains the program rates, terms and conditions. The notice also provides instructions on how to remove yourself from the program, if you think it is not right for you or your family. Residents have 21 days to make that decision. If you would like to remain in the program, simply do nothing and you will be automatically enrolled.
Direct Energy has again been chosen as the supplier for the NIGEAC Electric Aggregation Program and we have obtained a low fixed-rate of
7.2 cents/kWh through your July 2015 bill. Residents and small businesses who are already in the aggregation program or eligible for automatic inclusion in the program should have received opt-out letters. The deadline for opting-out was June 11, 2014. If you have questions or would like to inquire about enrolling, please have your ComEd bill handy and call Direct Energy at 866-760-6040. Their call center hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST.
How can I obtain the new rate?
There is no obligation to participate. However, we are pleased to provide this program as another option for our residents and small businesses to manage their energy costs.
- Direct Energy has issued an opt-out letter that explains the rates, terms and conditions of the electric supply offer;
- Residents and small businesses had until June 11 to opt-out if they do not wish to participate;
- Current members do not need to do anything to remain in the program;
- Direct Energy will enroll those new customers who choose not to opt-out;
- Accounts ineligible for automatic aggregation were mailed a letter around July 1, informing them that they may pro-actively join the program if they wish.
- ComEd will continue to read meters and issue bills that reflect Direct Energy's charges in place of the ComEd charges for generation and transmission.