Evanstonians taking part in the city’s electric aggregation program will see an increase of more than 8 percent in their electric bills starting this summer.

The City Council Monday night approved a new contract to replace the city’s existing one with Constellation NewEnergy, Inc. that expires in July.

The new contract, with Verde Energy USA Illinois LLC, will raise the price per kilowatt hour from the current 4.797 cents to 5.192 cents.

Verde’s price was the lowest of the three responsive bids the city received. The existing supplier, Constellation, wanted 5.609 cents for the new one-year term.

In the meantime, ComEd, which has been charging about 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour is dropping its price to about 5.9 cents.

The net result is that the savings to the average Evanston consumer of being part of the municipal aggregation program will shrink during the new contract term to as little as $19 from about $190 — assuming a typical usage of 9,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The new agreement continues the city’s decision to opt for a 100 percent renewable energy supply through the purchase of renewable energy credits. That raises the cost by about 1.56 percent over using non-renewable power sources.

Update 4/3/13: The drop in ComEd rates means some suburban residents — but not those in Evanston — will be paying more under their municipal aggregation plans than if they’d stayed with ComEd. Details from Chicago Business.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Rates

    What rates were being offered by all the providers? I assume that the city council choose the lowest rate regardless if it was 100% or 50% renewable.

    I wonder what will happen to renewable rates when the 10’s of billions of dollars of government subsidies go away. My guess is that the rates will skyrocket unless the technology improves dramatically.

  2. Evanstonians being misled again

    The fallacy behind this program is that our electricity isn't being generated from renewable sources.

    What Evanston is actually doing is buying energy credits, a very different program.

    There is a whole system of subsidies and energy credits being used that is leading to very inefficient and costly programs. We're forcing the poor and elderly people to spend more money on their electricity – is this fair?

    Our government and we as citizens should encourage research and generating electricity from renewable resources. However, today the technology and economics don't warrant a widescale rollout at this time.

    Take a look at wind. The utilities are required to buy electricity from wind generating farms 24 hours a day, even when the electricity isn't needed at 2 am. This drives up the costs that we as consumers pay.

    Without all the subsidies, many of these windfarms wouldn't exist.

    All you have to do is analyze the Spanish Power industry, look at the significant subsidies granted and ask their consumers how they like paying high prices for electricity. Can you say, White Elephant?

    We should learn from other people's mistakes.

    I like renewable power, but i don't want our government providing massive subsidies at this time and spending a lot of money on inefficient capacity. I want our government to spend money on improving the technology and rolling it out when it's ready for commercial deployment.

    1. Nobody is forced to do anything

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but the participation in the aggregation is entirely voluntary.  We are not "forcing the poor and elderly" to do anything. There are no "massive subsidies" coming from city government to this program.

      Illinois has a largely de-regulated energy market.  All the aggregation initiative did (which was approved by over 73% of voters) was allow the community to negotiate as a block to get better rates.

      You may opt out any time and buy your energy from whomever you want.

  3. I am surprised by your complaints

    Dear Thomas Paine & One Smart Guy,

    I am having a little trouble understanding your complaints…This is ALL GOOD for the people of Evanston!

    No Mr. Paine, the electrons being generated are not necessarily coming directly from a wind farm or a solar array… but they are dedicated REC's = Renewable Energy Certificates ("credits" purchased on Evanston's behalf) that are allocated to the power supply being "wheeled" into your home (unless you opted out of the program to pay a higher rate with ComEd or another power company) over wires that are being managed by ComEd… 

    You mentioned subsidies… IMHO, thank goodness clean energy is getting "subsidies" too… maybe you are not aware of the enormous subsidies that the fossil fuel & nuclear power industries have been benefiting from for decades… the "subsidies" for RE are an investment in a cleaner planet.

    The wisdom of Community Choice Aggregation is a lower rate AND no carbon emissions allocated to the Citizens of Evanston… leading to a healthier, cleaner environment… which the Citizens voted on and the City Council wisely will continue with this wonderful act of social responsibility on behalf of the entire community.

    Let's take a moment to review the rates as stated in the article above… the new 100% Renewable Energy electricity rate is only 0.395 cents (less than four tenths of one penny) per kWh more than the current rate and still 0.708 (just over seven tenths of one penny) per k/Wh below the new rate ComEd will charge residential customers in Evanston who opt-out!  During the current contract with Constellation Energy for 100 % RE, the City Council has saved the residential customers in Evanston millions of dollars… that leaves more money to spend freely inside the community!

    Methinks One Smart Guy is right about one thing… the cost has increased because there are only so many credits to go around… and we got in early (again Amen).  Anon is correct, you and any other citizen can opt-out of this historic and money saving proposition – but why would anyone want to?

    Respectully, Brian G. Becharas – Energy Education Associates, Member, Citizens' Greener Evanston



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