Evanston to Buy its Own Energy, Save Residents Money and Help Achieve Climate Action Goals

Posted on Thursday May 03, 2012

On April 30, 2012, the Evanston City Council voted unanimously to purchase electricity from Constellation Energy, an Alternate Retail Electricity Supplier (ARES), and specified that a 100% renewable energy mix be used. This move makes Evanston one of the few Illinois communities to purchase energy at a substantially lower rate for its residents, while attaining the benefits of renewable energy.    


This vote is in response to the March 20, 2012 Community Choice Electricity Aggregation (CCA) referendum which was supported by 73% of Evanston voters. The referendum authorized the City of Evanston to implement an opt-out CCA program and negotiate electricity supply on behalf of residential and small commercial retail customers who elect not to opt-out of the program. Learn more about Evanston Community Choice Electricity Aggregation at www.cityofevanston.org/cca.


"I am delighted that Evanston residents have directed the city to move forward with pursuing electricity aggregation. In addition to providing cost savings, our aggregation program is an opportunity to secure cleaner, green power for our community and support the goals of the Evanston Climate Action Plan to reduce our emissions by 13% by the end of 2012," said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. "Now that we have chosen a provider, I encourage all residents to learn more about the details of electricity aggregation."


"We are very pleased to be selected by Evanston, a city known as leader among Illinois municipalities for its strong city government, high standards and rigorous reviews to ensure citizens receive the highest quality services," said Bruce Stewart, chief marketing officer for Constellation. "We look forward to offering the citizens of Evanston both green energy and fixed-price certainty, along with Constellation's great service and low rates on energy."


The Evanston City Council voted to choose Constellation Energy, as the energy supplier with a 100% renewable energy mix for a term of 12 months at a rate of $0.04797 per kilowatt hour. This rate is 38% lower when compared to Commonwealth Edison Company's current price. For the typical single family home using 9,000 kWh on an annual basis, this would represent an estimated savings of $264. 


"Constellation Energy will provide Evanston with a 100% renewable energy mix by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs will be purchased from a wind energy asset in Illinois or adjacent states which are classified as 'new renewable energy,' built since 1997," explained Catherine Hurley, the City of Evanston's Sustainable Programs Coordinator. "The amount of REC's purchased will be equal to the amount of energy used by the Evanston Aggregated Group. Each REC represents the environmental benefits of a megawatt-hour of renewable electricity."


Staff conducted a competitive process to select an ARES to provide electric supply to eligible customers in Evanston. Licensed and registered ARES in Illinois were invited to respond to a Request for Qualifications, and Indicative Pricing and Actionable Pricing Proposals were sought from the pre-qualified ARES. Proposals were received from three pre-qualified ARES: Constellation Energy, Inc.; FirstEnergy Solutions; and MC Squared Energy Services, LLC. 


Residential and small commercial retail customers will have the right to opt-out of the aggregation program without penalty and remain with ComEd-purchased electricity. The city will work with Constellation Energy to notify all eligible Evanston customers of the electric supply rate, terms and conditions and their right to opt-out of the program.


Evanston's CCA program will allow for exceptional cost savings for residential and small business customers in Evanston and bring an efficient, renewable energy program to the city. During the negotiations, the city also secured the fixed rate of $0.04797 per kilowatt hour for any eligible customer who would like to join the program at a later date. 


The next steps are for the city and Constellation Energy to begin the customer notification and opt-out process. All eligible customers which have not opted-out will be transferred to the new electricity supply; electric service will begin under the newly negotiated rates as early as July 2012.

View Contellation Energy press release here>>>