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Pingree Grove preps for electric rate vote

Updated: January 23, 2012 3:55AM

PINGREE GROVE — Village trustees have voted to hire a firm to manage the process they hope will provide lower electrical bills for residents.

Illinois’ deregulated energy market allows municipalities to consolidate residents’ bills and purchase energy at a volume discount, but they must first get residents’ approval.

The village board initiated the process of municipal energy “aggregation” in August by placing a referendum question on the March 2012 ballot. Residents will vote on whether the village should negotiate costs with energy suppliers to provide power to the entire community.

At Monday night’s meeting, Northern Illinois Municipal Electrical Cooperative (NIMEC) was chosen to represent Pingree Grove in the process. It will manage the referendum, notify the community, provide information and negotiate rates with energy suppliers if the referendum passes.

The rate would be compared to that of the village’s current provider, Commonwealth Edison. The village then has the option to go with the lowest rate, which could have residents seeing lower bills by July.

The process comes at no cost to the village, since municipal energy aggregators are paid by the energy suppliers, not municipalities.

Trustees chose NIMEC based in part on the recommendation of former village administrator Bill Barlow, who researched the firm. According to Barlow, NIMEC has saved customers an average of $150 per year.

According to information provided by NIMEC, all eligible residents and small businesses would be automatically enrolled, and those who don’t want to participate can opt out, after they are provided with the new supplier and rate information.

Residents in 20 Illinois communities in April approved municipal energy aggregation by referendum, including Campton Hills, Elburn, North Aurora and Sugar Grove.

Road work news

Improvements to segments of Reinking Road in the village are set to be finished by the middle of this month despite considerable rain delays last week, according to Public Work Director Pat Doherty.

Doherty told trustees that he has been in regular contact with Cambridge Homes officials in charge of the project. While the date for the final coat of pavement has not been set, crews are hoping to have the roadway ready for traffic by Oct. 14.

Trustees discussed the impact final paving on Reinking at Route 72 will have on drivers, particularly parents of students at the Cambridge Lakes Charter School. Doherty said he will relay updates from Cambridge so village staff can send timely notices to parents, alert homeowners associations, and post alternate routes on the village website.

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