By Kelly White
Chicago Ridge village officials say residents should be cautious about accepting offers from energy suppliers trying to cash in on electrical aggregation.
Village trustees on Sept. 4 voted to award Verde Energy the contract as Chicago Ridge’s electricity supplier. Under the terms of the two-year deal, residents and small business owners will pay 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. The cost represents 44 percent savings over the 8.3 cents residents had been paying ComEd.
Competition in the electricity market has, however, prompted energy suppliers to target residents as potential customers. Chicago Ridge Trustee Dan Badon on Tuesday presented to the Village Board a solicitation delivered Sept. 7 by Direct Energy to all Chicago Ridge residents. Direct Energy is, according to the letter, offering residents a rate of 6.23 per kilowatt hour as well as a $50 Visa prepaid gift card. The higher rate residents would pay for electricity from Direct Energy equates to “money that will be put back in their pocket,” Badon said.
“ I am not trying to single out Direct Energy at all,” Badon added. “They are not the only supplier out there sending out mailings like this to our residents.”
Badon urged residents to pay close attention to the companies that send out such solicitations.
“ If residents are going to switch over to a new supplier, it should be Verde,” he added.
Chicago Ridge residents in March voted to pass a referendum that authorized the village to seek a contract with a new electricity supplier through what is known as municipal aggregation. Other suburbs that have entered into electrical aggregation contracts this year include Hickory Hills, Justice, Palos Heights and Orland Park, all of which are paying higher rates than Chicago Ridge. Palos Hills currently holds the next lowest rate at 4.74 through First Energy Solutions Corporation.
Chicago Ridge Chief of Police Robert Pyznarski said police have not received any complaints from residents about door-to-door solicitation from electrical suppliers, and have issued only a handful of written warnings for solicitation since a solicitation ordinance went into effect in the spring. Electrical suppliers are using mailings as a means to gain attention from residents.
“ This only confuses residents,” Badon said. “A supplier has been chosen and all mailings from them will have Verde’s name and logo on it.”
Village officials are hopeful the switch to Verde will be official by next month. Residents have received one mailing from Verde and will be receiving another in the weeks to come informing them of their right to opt-out of the aggregation program. There will be a two-week opt-out period before the switchover will take place, Badon said. Opting-out will incur a $50 dollar fee if done after the contract with Verde goes into effect; however, there is no opt-out fee for residents choosing to remain with ComEd prior to the program’s start date.