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Power hearing a magnet for environmentalists

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A public hearing on Evanston's planned electric aggregation program turned into a magnet for environmentalists Tuesday night, drawing only folks who want the city to buy 100 percent renewable energy.

Evanston Sustainability Coordinator Katherine Hurley and Utilities Director Dave Stoneback fielded questions at the public hearing.

A public hearing on Evanston's planned electric aggregation program turned into a magnet for environmentalists Tuesday night drawing only folks who want the city to buy 100 percent renewable energy.

About two dozen people turned out for the session at the Civic Center and several speakers suggested that the extra cost of going for 100 percent renewable energy, versus 75 percent renewable, shouldn't be a deterrent.

Some estimates have suggested the increased cost for all renewable power would amount to about $1 a month for the average customer, but that the aggregation program could still save the average customer about $24 a month compared to current Commonwealth Edison rates.

One sour note for some people at the meeting who either have switched to an alternative energy supplier on their own, or who belong to churches that have done so.

They likely have signed up at individual rate discounts less than the municipal aggregation program will achieve. And when their current contracts expire, Utilities Director Dave Stoneback said, they can buy power from the city's chosen supplier — but at then-current market rates, not the bulk rate the city will negotiate for customers who are on board when the aggregation program initially goes into effect.

Additional hearings on the municipal electric aggregation program will be held at 7 p.m. tonight at the Levy Senior Center and at 7 p.m. Monday at the Civic Center.

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The plan of operation for the electricy aggregation program

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