Officials hope electricity aggregation starts showing benefits by summer

2013-04-16T22:30:00Z Officials hope electricity aggregation starts showing benefits by summerGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 16, 2013 10:30 pm  • 

LANSING | Village officials said Tuesday they hope residents will start seeing lower utility bills by this summer as a result of their vote last week in favor of electricity aggregation.

Lansing voters approved the aggregation proposal by a 3,120-1,746 margin. Aggregation allows an entity hired by village government to negotiate with electricity suppliers on behalf of all residents. By negotiating a bulk rate, it becomes possible to get a price that results in lower utility bills for each electricity customer.

Village Administrator J. Wynsma said he could not provide an exact timetable for the process.

But he said the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative will now accept bids from the suppliers in hopes of getting the best possible price for Lansing.

Wynsma said bids may be submitted by suppliers this week, which would allow village officials to know exactly which company will be providing electricity, and at what rate.

The Village Board on Tuesday voted 6-0 without public discussion to move forward with the aggregation process, and village Attorney Timothy Lapp said that vote gives Wynsma the authority to accept a low bid without further approval from village trustees or President Norm Abbott.

For his part, Wynsma said he hopes that having a low bid by May means it can take effect and begin showing lower utility bills by summer.

Residents who do not wish to be included in aggregation will receive notices in coming weeks informing them how they can opt out of the process, Wynsma said. Residents who wish to be included do not have to do anything.

Officials could not say now how large a saving will be accomplished by Lansing residents. NIMEC officials have said other south suburban municipalities have seen rate reductions of about $175 per customer per year.

Among area communities that have gone through the aggregation process are Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Dolton and South Holland.

In other matters Tuesday, the Village Board did not act on giving final approval to a measure that would permit Walmart to develop the former Sam’s Club warehouse store property at 17555 Torrence Ave. into a Super Walmart that would include a full-scale grocery store with its existing retail options.

The village’s Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals gave its recommendation last week, but village Planning Director Kristi DeLaurentiis said taking action on Tuesday was “too short a time to turn this around.”

Wynsma said a final vote from the Village Board could come at its next scheduled meeting May 7.

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