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Board Gives Voters the Power to Decide if Village Negotiates Electric Rates

A referendum on the March 20 ballot will ask voters if they authorize the village to represent them in seeking less-expensive electricity.

Plainfield residents will decide at the voting booth if they want the village to .

The Monday signed off on putting a referendum question on the March 20 ballot. If approved, the village will have the authority to replace ComEd as the village’s power provider with a company that offers lower rates.

In other areas where this has been allowed, rates have been reduced anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent. New Lenox and Crest Hill, which recently joined forces to shop for a new electric company, saw their rates drop by 25 percent.

If the referendum is approved, the village may negotiate on its own or work with the Will County Governmental League, which has proposed forming a group of municipalities for whom they would negotiate, Village Administrator Brian Murphy said last week. The idea being that the larger the group represented, the greater the likelihood that the best rate will be secured.

Several area towns, including Romeoville, Shorewood and Joliet, are expected to have a similar referendum on the March ballot.

If it turns out that ComEd’s rates are the best, no change will be made, Murphy said. And regardless of which company provides the power, ComEd will still be in charge of getting the electricity to Plainfield homes and businesses, sending out bills and collecting payments.

If a resident or business has already switched from ComEd to another power provider, they will still benefit if the village is able to get a lower rate, Murphy said. However, if that resident or business is getting a rate lower than what the village secures, they will keep the lower rate, he said.

No change in power providers would be made without public input and village board approval, Murphy said.

Barbara Seiden February 23, 2012 at 02:55 AM
This referendum would also allow the village to look at alternative, environmentally friendly energy sources. Several area communities have been able to save money and make environmentally friendly provider choices when similar power was granted to the local government for negotiating with providers.

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