Community Choice Electricity Aggregation

Community Choice Electricity Aggregation (CCA) allows local governments the option to bundle together residential and small commercial retail electric accounts and seek proposals for a cheaper, and possibly cleaner, source of power.

City Selects Homefield Energy as New Supplier

On, Monday, April 28, 2014, the Evanston City Council approved a three-year contract with Homefield Energy as part of its electricity aggregation program (aggregation program), providing participating residents and small businesses with 100 percent renewable energy. More information on the program with Homefield Energy, including the terms and conditions, can be found on Homefield's website

Evanston secured an electricity supply price of 7.644 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the first 24 months of the contract and 6.923 cents per kWh for the last 12 months. That means residents and small businesses that do not opt out of the program will pay an average of 7.404 cents per kWh over the three-year contract, August 2014 through July 2017. 

Residents and small businesses can opt out of the program at any time without penalty, or opt into the program at any time during the three-year contract. Changes to program participation can be made by contacting Homefield Customer Care at 866-694-1262 or custcare@homefieldenergy.com. You will need to provide the account holder name, address and account number.

ComEd’s price for June through September 2014 includes the utility’s "electricity supply" and "transmission services" charges totaling 7.596 cents per kWh, plus a “purchased electricity adjustment (PEA)” of up to 0.5 cents per kWh. ComEd’s PEA changes monthly and can be a charge or a credit. Participants in Evanston’s aggregation program do not pay a PEA.

Evanston’s new contract includes Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that will come from facilities, such as wind farms, located in Illinois or a neighboring state. Additionally, the RECs are required to be generated within one year of the energy being used by the aggregated group. The cost for the renewable electricity mix amounts to just over one dollar per month for the average single family home with a typical annual usage of 9,000 kWh.

The City and Homefield Energy mailed a letter to eligable residents and small businesses in May detailing the new contract. Residents and small businesses who wish to continue in the City’s aggregation program do not have to take any action and will automatically be switched to Homefield Energy.

April 1, 2013 City Council Meeting Results

On Monday, April 1, 2013 the Evanston City Council selected Verde Energy USA (Verde) as Evanston's electricity supplier for the second year of the city's Community Choice Electricity Aggregation program.  Click here to view the staff memo summarizing the selection process.  

The Evanston City Council voted unanimously to purchase electricity from Verde for a 12-month term at a rate of $0.05192 per kilowatt hour with a 100% renewable energy mix .  Read more about the agreement with Verde in the city's April 9, 2013 press release. The city is working with Verde to develop a schedule for implementing the program and switching electricity supply for the aggregated customers from Constellation Energy, the city's current supplier, to Verde.  More information will be available in the next few weeks. 

April 30, 2012 City Council Meeting Results

On Monday, April 30, 2012 the Evanston City Council held a special meeting to review the results from the City's Request for Proposals to supply electricity to the Evanston Aggregated Group of residential and small commercial customers that are eligible to participate in the program.  A staff memo and powerpoint presentation was developed to summarize the proposals received.  

The Evanston City Council voted unanimously to purchase electricity from Constellation Energy for a 12-month term at a rate of $0.04797 per kilowatt hour with a 100% renewable energy mix .  This rate is 38% lower when compared to Commonwealth Edison Company’s current price. More details on the schedule for implementing the program with Constellation Energy will be presented at the Evanston City Council Meeting on May 21st. 

Electricity Referendum Results - March 20th General Primary Election

On March 20, 2012, 73% of Evanston voters approved the referendum question for Community Choice Electric Aggregation and authorized the City to work to obtain lower electricity supply rates for its residents and small businesses through an opt-out electricity aggregation program. 

The city will take the next steps in implementing an opt-out electricity aggregation program by holding three public hearings on a Plan of Operation and Governance for the program on April 3rd,  April 4th and April 9th. The Final Plan of Operation and Governance was approved by City Council on April 10, 2012.

 

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 the Evanston City Council passed an ordinance (103-O-11) which places a binding referendum question on the March Primary General election about Community Choice Electricity Aggregation (CCA). Information about CCA is summarized below. City staff has also developed a memorandum and a powerpoint presentation on CCA, which were provided to City Council at the November 29th meeting.

There will be three public informational meetings to discuss this ballot question in the community:

  • Monday, January 30, 7 p.m., Council Chambers, Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.
  • Thursday, February 23, 7 p.m., Robert Crown Center, 1701 Main St.
  • Thursday, March 8, 7 p.m., Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.

Additionally, there will be informational presentations at various ward meetings prior to the March 20th General Primary Election (visit www.cityofevanston.org/events for ward meeting dates). The presentation for Community Choice Electricity Aggregation can be viewed here.

What is Community Choice Electricity Aggregation?

CCA is an opt-out program that allows local governments the option to bundle together, or aggregate, residential and small commercial retail electric accounts and seek proposals for a cheaper, and possibly cleaner, source of power. Currently, ComEd purchases electricity on behalf of their customers who have not selected another supplier and passes those energy supply costs onto the customers. By bundling residential and small commercial accounts, municipalities can obtain savings by purchasing energy supply from the open market.

How Does Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Work?

To implement a CCA program, first the electors of Evanston must approve a binding referendum which authorizes the City to arrange for the supply of electricity on behalf of residential and small commercial retail accounts who have not opted-out of such a program. If the referendum is approved, the City would move forward with a competitive selection process for requesting proposals and selecting an alternate retail electricity supplier. The proposals are evaluated based on a Plan of Operation and Governance (Aggregation Plan) that will outline what the City is looking for in the proposals. The City will hold at least two public hearings to discuss and create the Aggregation Plan.

Once the Aggregation Plan is in place, city staff will prepare and publicize a request for proposals. The proposal will be evaluated compared to the goals and criteria set forth in the Aggregation Plan. If one or more proposals is favorable, the city can choose to enter into an agreement with one to supply electricity to the aggregated accounts. If none of the proposals are acceptable, there is no obligation to accept them, and the aggregated accounts continue with ComEd’s set electricity supply rate.

What Does “Opt-Out” mean?

If the aggregation program goes forward, all residential or small business customers can choose to opt out of the program altogether, and stick with the ComEd purchased electricity. The opt-out process happens after the alternate retail electricity supplier is chosen and the fixed electricity rate is published.

Don’t Residential and Small Commercial Retail Customers already have the power to choose their supplier?

Yes, as a result of energy deregulation in Illinois, all consumers have the option to select an alternate retail electricity supplier. According to the Illinois Commerce Commission, approximately 176.000 residential customers have already switched to an alternate retail electric supplier.

The Illinois Commerce Commission approves the alternate retail electric suppliers that are allowed to supply electricity in Illinois. Information on electric supply choice can be found on the Illinois Commerce Commission’s Plug In Illinois website. There are several important questions that any customer should ask when considering selecting an energy supplier including questions about the price, contract terms, enrollment process, billing process, and customer service. The Citizen’s Utility Board, a consumer advocacy group, also provide good resources related to consumer electricity choice. In addition to visiting the websites of individual suppliers, other websites and companies are being developed to help compare electricity rates of several suppliers on one website.

In contrast to residential customers, 75% of the electricity consumed by Illinois’ large commercial and industrial customers is provided by alternate retail electricity suppliers, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission. Large industrial and commercial customers go out to market and obtain a lower rate and save money on their electric bills. In a similar way, the City of Evanston is purchasing electricity for the city’s top 23 energy using buildings from the open market and receiving a supply rate that is less than the ComEd purchased rate.

What are the benefits of Communicty Choice Electricity Aggregation?

The most important benefit to the CCA is the opportunity for Evanston residents and small businesses to save money. This program also can support the Evanston Climate Action Plan goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13% by 2012. The Aggregation Plan can specify what percentage of renewable energy Evanston would like to receive from the Alternate Retail Electricity Suppliers. Finally, this program can bring the savings to residential and small commercial retail customers without substantial financial costs. The cost for the City to implement the CCA process is limited to staff time to develop the CCA documents, inform the community and run the proposal process. There is no cost for the individual customers to be part of a CCA program.

What are the downsides of Communicty Choice Electricity Aggregation?

Residential and small business customers that do not want to be part of the CCA program must opt-out of the process. Notification will be sent to all customers considered for the aggregation, but some response on the part of the customer is needed to opt-out of the process. Also, the electricity would still be delivered by ComEd, which would remain responsible for customer service, such as billing and outage response.

Residential and small business customers that have already selected an alternate retail electricity supplier would not be included with the aggregation program and would remain part of the agreement they already signed. In addition, those customers on ComEd’s real-time pricing program will also not be able to participate in the aggregation program. Residential customers can participate in a real-time pricing program which is another way to save money from the set rate but cannot be used in conjunction with aggregation.

Additional Resources
Illinois Commerce Commission: http://www.icc.illinois.gov/
Citizen’s Utility Board: http://citizensutilityboard.org/
Plug In Illinois: http://www.pluginillinois.org/

Questions or Comments?
Questions or comments should be submitted to 3-1-1.