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Morris seeks less expensive electricity

Published: Monday, March 17, 2014 9:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 10:37 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – For a third consecutive year, the city of Morris will take bids to find the least expensive electricity supplier for the community.

In April 2011, a referendum passed allowing the city to take bids on the electricity supply for the city’s residential and small commercial use.

It is an opt-out program so those who don’t want to participate can opt-out free of charge.

Once opted out, residents are at liberty to find their own electricity provider or stick with the provider chosen by ComEd.

Morris was one of the first 20 municipalities in the state to adopt the aggregate program.

“I think it’s a great program and it’s saving the taxpayers money,” Alderman Bill Martin, finance committee chairman, said after Monday’s city council meeting.

Residents participating in the aggregation program still receive their electricity bills, meter readings and service repairs from ComEd because ComEd is still the distributor.

The only difference is which energy company provides the electricity.

“Commonwealth Edison supports this program because then they don’t have to find the electricity,” Morris Mayor Richard Kopczick said before Monday’s meeting.

Kopczick said when the program began two years ago, some residents were skeptical of the switch and therefore only 3,700 households and businesses enrolled.

“There were people that were loyal to ComEd and just didn’t understand how this program worked,” Kopczick said.

Now, more than 5,000 residents have chosen to be a part of the aggregate program.

The city passed an ordinance during Monday’s meeting authorizing the renewal of the aggregation program for the third year.

With the ordinance, the city’s broker – an electricity purchasing co-operative known as the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative – can begin taking bids to find the lowest power supply rate. 

Kopczick said he anticipates NIMEC will go out for bid this April.

Once a bid is accepted, the city will be locked into the price until the agreement expires, typically in one year.

The city’s current electricity provider is Verde Energy, which is charging Morris residents 5.032 cents a kilowatt-hour which is lower than ComEd’s rate.

The current contract expires Aug. 31.

Since implementing the program, Morris has saved a total of $1.8 million citywide while each participating household has saved an average of $395, according to city documents.

In 2011, Morris actually received the lowest electricity rate in the state with a rate about 30 percent lower than ComEd’s rate that year, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission.

“We really did well that year,” Kopczick said.

This year’s savings were not as significant, Kopczick said, but the city is still saving money comapared to ComEd’s currents rates.

Residents new to the city are not automatically enrolled in the program and will need to call Verde Energy to be included in Morris’s aggregate program.

“Hopefully, we’ll get even more people participating this next year,” Martin said. “I think people are starting to see the savings.”

OUTBOX:

Visit morrisdailyherald.com for more area meeting coverage from Morris Elementary School District 54’s school board meeting where students came out in number to protest the proposed dismal of a teacher.” 

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