Worth approves three-year contract with energy supplier

By Laura Bollin

For the next three years, Worth residents will have an extra $200 in their pockets.

The Village Board approved a three-year contract with First Energy Solutions at a meeting Dec. 18.

The new rate for electricity will be 5.3 cents per kilowatt hour, down from the current rate of 8.36 cents. The move will save each household in Worth $217 per year. The rate will also apply to small businesses, defined as those that use less than 15,000 kilowatts of energy per year.

Residents and small businesses have 21 days - roughly until mid-January to opt-out of the program. Those that do not opt-out will be automatically entered into the program. Residents or business owners that are already working with an independent electricity supplier will have to cancel their current supplier if they wish to be entered into the program, Brennan said. Residents will start seeing savings on their energy bills in 2013.

The bid for an electricity supplier went out to 21 licensed suppliers in Illinois, and eight responded to the bid. Dennis Brennan, a principal with Illinois Energy Aggregation - the firm that worked with the village to secure an independent electricity supplier told residents that.

ComEd will still be responsible for repairs and addressing power outages, and will still send out residents' electric bills. The supplier line on the bill will change to reflect the lower energy rate.

Illinois Energy Aggregation has also worked with Evergreen Park and Chicago Ridge to secure alternative energy suppliers. Evergreen Park in August entered into a two-year contract with Verdes Energy USA at a rate of 4.62 cents per kilowatt hour, and Chicago Ridge also went with Verde for a two-year contract at a rate of 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour. Electricity deals approved by those villages' trustees will collectively save residents and small business owners $1.5 million and $2.3 million per year, respectively.

Worth voters passed the electrical aggregation referendum by just 70 votes - 1,611 to 1,541 votes. Such measures commonly pass by 30 percent or greater, however, statistics show the vote is typically closer in middle-class and economicallydepressed suburbs.