Members of Citizens Greener Evanston, which organized support for the electric power municipal aggregation referendum, had reason to celebrate when they gathered at Prairie Moon Monday night.
Their efforts contributed to a massive victory for the referendum proposal, which will let Evanston's city government, along with other municipalities, negotiate to select an alternative energy supplier to be the default choice for local residents instead of Commonwealth Edison.
Of the 66 municipalities in suburban Cook County that had the electricity referendum on the ballot, in only four did voters show stronger support for it than the 73.16 percent who backed the issue here in Evanston.
Those towns were Barrington at 74.98 percent, Northbrook at 75.44 percent, South Barrington at 75.58 percent, Riverside at 74.83 percent and Wilmette at 75.4 percent.
The referendum went down to defeat in 11 of the 66 municipalities. Most but not all of those losses were by relatively small margins.
Supporters have argued that the new approach will result in lower electric rates for consumers. If it turns out the best offers from alternative suppliers aren't better, the municipalities are free to choose to stick with ComEd.
And residents will still be free to choose a different supplier on their own.
The next big question is expected to be whether Evanston and other communities will focus their search for suppliers on getting the best price, or will choose to pay somewhat more to get power from renewable and other "green" energy sources.
A third of local power demand set to exit ComEd (Crain's Chicago Business)