The DeKalb Township Board, at the urging of Township Supervisor Eric Johnson, has voted 5-0 to place a referendum on the April 9, 2013 ballot asking voters to authorize the township to operate a power aggregation program. Aggregation programs help to lower residents’ energy costs by allowing a unit of government to accept bids on power supply for a group of residents and business. For participants it is a seamless process where they see savings from the new supplier but still receive a single energy bill. On average, participating households save $220 a year on their electric bills. Rock River Energy Services, Co., the same consulting firm which worked with the city of DeKalb on its power referendum, will be helping guide the Township through the process.
The following will appear on the April 9, 2013 ballot for those voters living in unincorporated DeKalb Township; “Shall the Township of DeKalb have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?” If the referendum passes the Township will need to hold two public hearings on the issue and will then be allowed to accept bids from power suppliers. The winning bid will then provide power for those residents in unincorporated DeKalb Township who have not opted out of the program. Residents of the city of DeKalb will not be affected in any way by the outcome of the referendum.
Residents are not locked into any program if the referendum were to pass. Each affected resident would have the option to participate in the program negotiated by the township, continue with the current rate offered by ComEd, or contract with an energy supplier of their choice. “The residents will have the flexibility to choose which plan they think is best for them and if someone chooses to opt out of the program and at a later time want to enroll they have that option” said Supervisor Johnson.
The Illinois General Assembly amended the law to allow Townships to conduct power aggregation referendums last year. Under the new law townships within a county can only hold a referendum if the county has decided not to hold one during the same election. DeKalb County has decided not to hold a referendum on the April 9th election. “I spoke with County Board Chairman Jeff Metzger and when he told me the County Board would not be holding another referendum I knew the township should address the issue” said Eric.
At the 2012 primary election the city of DeKalb voters approved a power referendum, but DeKalb County voters did not. “We have over 3000 residents in unincorporated DeKalb Township that have not been able to take advantage of the savings the people within the city have seen.” said Eric Johnson “This referendum will allow them a chance to participate in a similar program.” If at a later date DeKalb County holds a referendum that passes, the residents in unincorporated DeKalb Township will be allowed to choose which program in which they wish to participate.
Supervisor Johnson added “I think this a good opportunity for township residents to see some savings on their electric bills and I’m glad the township is giving people the opportunity to vote on the issue.”