LYNWOOD | Lynwood officials approved an agreement with an energy aggregation consultation firm during a special meeting on the morning of Dec. 26, the first step toward a future referendum that could give village government permission to negotiate lower electricity bills for residents.
The village will employ Illinois Energy Aggregation LLC as an independent contractor to "render professional advice and planning services for the aggregation program and any other aggregation," according to the approved resolution.
Lynwood government, if given permission to aggregate electricity bills, would negotiate with a utility provider on behalf of residents in the hopes of setting a group rate that would be lower than what they currently pay individually. But Illinois law requires the village get voter approval first.
Aggregation became possible in Illinois when the state Legislature passed the Illinois Power Agency Act in 2007. Over 3 million Illinois residents have switched to a retail electricity supplier since, according to the state commerce commission's Plug In Illinois program.
The agreement with IEA will be in effect for two years, or one year after the length of the contract Lynwood enters into with an energy supplier. The motion was approved with a 4-0 vote by the Lynwood board. Trustees Willie Sims and William Lebeter were absent.
The village is not responsible for paying the consultant any amount, according to the referendum. IEA will be paid by the energy supplier when Lynwood enters a contract.
IEA, based in Oak Lawn, states on it's website that it "handles the entire process," including the referendum, the public meetings, marketing, writing the request for proposal, soliciting suppliers, negotiating with bidders and following up with the village and electricity supplier.
Lynwood officials did not say when they expect the referendum vote would take place. Residents will have an opportunity to opt out of the program, if they choose.
Public hearings will be held to explain aggregation to residents and give them the chance to provide feedback.