Evanston aldermen voted unanimously this evening to cut residents’ electric bills by buying power from alternative energy suppler Constellation NewEnergy.

The approved plan calls for buying 100 percent renewable energy for a price of $0.04797 per kilowatt hour under a 12-month contract.

The plan is expected to save a typical residential customer $264 a year, compared to current Commonwealth Edison rates.

Once the new plan is in place, residents will be automatically switched to the new supplier at the lower rate, unless they opt out of the municipal aggregation program.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said procedures for opting out of the program are expected to be outlined by the middle of next month, after the city signs the agreement with Constellation.

The rate received by the city is very close to the $0.04775 rate received by the larger NorthwestSuburban Electricity Buying Group for a 100 percent renewable, one-year agreement.

The aldermen opted not to lock in a two year agreement, because the price suppliers offered for that was significantly higher.

They went with the 100 percent renewable option, instead of the 75 percent option previously recommended by staff because the cost difference amounted to only about $3 per year for the average customer.

Top: Architect Nate Kipnis urges a yes vote on electric aggregation. Above: Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward.

One cautionary note was sounded by Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, who noted that the renewable energy option only involves the purchase of credits for renewable energy produced elsewhere and doesn’t  necessarily mean cleaner air in the Chicago area.

He suggested more action will be needed in the future to provide truly renewable energy for Evanston.

During public comment, architect and environmental activist Nate Kipnis said the decision appeared to be a simple one, and that aldermen should be able to leave early with a big smile and have a great night’s sleep.

Related document

Staff memo on electric contract award

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Significant savings

    This represents a greater than 31% savings over the current ComEd rate.

    1. savings are not on the entire bill

      Keep in mind that you only save on the "commodity charge", i.e., the cost of the electricity and not on any of the other itermsw on your present electric bill, e.g., customer and metering charges, distribution charges, and of course, the many taxes that are tacked on.

      1. Of course. The current Comed

        Of course. The current Comed charge is a hair over 6 cents a kilowatt hour. The savings is approximately 31% as I stated. 

  2. 2 Year Contract

    The most important reason a two year contract was going to be expensive is that there is a good chance that massive subsidies the green energy companies are receiving will nearly disappear some time next year. This is especially true for the windmills.

    It would be a very high risk for the energy supply companies and could cause them to go into bankruptcy.

    This was a good move on the part of the city council since we are already paying 10's of billions of dollars in taxes to keep renewable energy companies above water. 

  3. Hooray for the electric deal – but too bad for me

    I'm one of the early birds who caught a higher priced worm!

    I signed up with Nicor Electric for a year a couple of months back and get a guaranteed lower rate than ComEd, but nothing close to the under 5 cent/kwh obtained by the city that I would receive if I had done nothing. So it's true in this case that all things come to those who only sit and wait!

    My only hope is that ComEd will lower its rate to try to compete and as a result my rate will drop lower as well.

    At any rate (pun intended) – 3 cheers for capitalism and true competition.


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