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Aggregation aggravation

  • Written by Kelly White

 Hickory may be starting trend in return to ComEd

Hickory Hills is thinking of turning backfront-color-2-col-truckComEd was the victim of aggregation in some suburbs but Hickory Hills is considering going back to the utility giant. Photo by Jeff Vorva. to an old friend. 

 Maligned ComEd hasn’t been a name commonly spoken in favorable terms in area suburbs over the past few years -- especially with the hype of electrical aggregation and the promise of lower rates.

But ComEd could be on the verge of a comeback and Hickory Hills could be leading the way.
“A lot of municipalities are choosing to go back to ComEd for the entire upcoming year, simply because it’s less confusing for residents,” Howley told residents at last Thursday’s city council meeting. “This very well could be the case for us.”
With the council’s one-year electrical agreement with Integris expiring in May and not being able to go out for new bids again until August for another contract, the village will go back to ComEd for June and July and make a long-term decision in the coming months.
The mayor said Integris would not be able to carry on with its current rate of 5.39 cents per kilowatt hour and would be attaining a market-based rate for the village instead.
“The market rates they have been providing us are very high, and ComEd has a much lower rate,” Howley said.
Integris’ market-based summer rate stood at 8 cents per kilowatt hour. The village decided to terminate its agreement with Integris and return back to ComEd for June and July.
The ComEd rate for June through July is 7.6 cents and it will be 7.42 cents per kilowatt hour for the remaining ten months. ComEd is also planning to reset rates again in the fall.
The rates offered by ComEd are for the 12-month period beginning June 1.
Be warned -- whether the village choses in July to go with an aggregator or remain with ComEd, rates are going up.
“Rates are much higher than they have been in the past,” Jim Zelic said on behalf of Integris at the April 10 city council meeting.
“Residents have already received letters from ComEd informing them that they are now being serviced by ComEd,” Howley said, “I do understand how this can be confusing when just a month ago, residents were receiving letters from Integris.”
The village is debating avoiding continual confusion among residents by remaining with ComEd through June, 2015.
Howley explained there is more risk in back end of an electrical agreement contract now than there was in the past.
“If we signed on to a three-year electrical agreement contract, during the first year of the contract, we may be slightly paying a lower rate than what ComEd is offering,” he said. “However, in years two and three, we could very well be paying much more than ComEd’s rate at that time.”
Hickory is in a two-month window where the council members have time to debate whether or not to go back to electrical aggregation or remain with ComEd.
During the three one-year aggregation agreements, Hickory Hills residents saved an estimated $30 a year Howley said.
“It’s really not as significant of a savings as people may think it is.” he said.

Hickory took on Integris as an electrical aggregation supplier in 2012, with a rate of 4.98. The 2013 increase upon a new one-year contractual agreement with Integris was minor, with a jump to 5.39. When the aggregation programs started two years ago, power rates were at 10-year lows, and the village was able to take advantage of that low pricing. Unfortunately for residents, rates have spiked, exceeding more than 7 percent in 2014, even after the summer rates expired.

“If we decide to stay with ComEd for the upcoming year, residents are always free to go online and choose their own electrical aggregation provider,” Howley said, “Although, I would warn residents to be very cautious when choosing a supplier. Some companies are not as reputable as they make themselves out to be.”