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.

Electricity Aggregation Update: Opt-Out Deadline June 20th 

The City of Evanston and Verde Energy USA (Verde) will be mailing out letters to residents and small businesses on Thursday, May 30 with instructions for those who wish to opt in or out of the program. The deadline to opt-out of the program is June 20, 2013. View a sample opt-out letter here.

Under the terms of the agreement with Verde, eligible customers will receive a 100% renewable fixed rate of $0.05192/kWh through August 2014. Residential and small commercial retail customers will have the right to “opt-out” of the aggregation program without penalty or a cancellation fee by June 20th, 2013 using one of the following methods:

1. Mail: Complete and mail in the form provided in the opt-out letter.
2. Phone: Call Verde at 1-800-241-0295
4. Email: Complete and e-mail the form provided in the opt-out letter to service@lowcostpower.com

Copies of the opt out form and program terms and conditions are available on Verde's website for the Evanston Aggregation Program.

Residents and small businesses who are not eligible for automatic enrollment but are otherwise eligible for the aggregation program will receive an opt-in letter with instructions for joining the program.  These customers can join the program at any time.  Residents and small businesses can contact Verde at 1-800-241-0295 with questions about eligibility for the opt-in program.

The new rate will take effect within the next one or two billing cycles based upon the account’s meter read date.

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. 

November Update - Energy Mix Disclosure Statement

This month, all Evanston residential and small business customers, who are currently in the city’s electricity aggregation program, received an energy disclosure statement from Constellation Energy.  The energy disclosure statement is required to be sent to customers each quarter by the Illinois laws that govern electricity service in Illinois (Section 16-127 of the Electric Service Customer Choice and Rate Relief Law of 1997 and the rules of the Illinois Commerce Commission). Read more here or download a flyer with frequently asked questions.

August Update - Evanston Residential and Small Business Customers Switched to Constellation Energy

As of mid-August, 25,000 Evanston residential and small business customers, who did not opt out of the Community Choice Electricity Aggregation program, have been stiwched to Constellation Energy from ComEd and will benefit from lower cost, green energy. Ninety-five percent of the customers switched over were residential accounts and the remaining were qualifying small business accounts.

For residential consumers, Constellation will appear as the electricity provider on their invoices beginning in September.  The billing update will take effect in October for small business customers.   Customers who have questions can call Constellation at 1-800-718-1493.  Individuals wishing to opt-into the program can do so by calling Constellation Energy at 1-800-718-1493.  They will sign an individual contract with Constellation and receive the same rate, terms and conditions as other participants in the program.

Electricity Aggregation Update: Opt-Out Period June 1st - June 25th 

As required by law and outlined in the Plan of Operation and Governance, all eligible customers have the right to opt-out of the city's Electricity Aggregation Program and continue to have ComEd purchase their electricity supply.  Opt-out notices have been mailed out by Constellation Energy to eligible customers and will arrive in mail boxes the first week of June.  The envelope and letter will include the City’s logo and refer to the city’s electricity aggregation program. Click here to view a copy of the opt-out materials. Customers have until June 25th to opt-out of the program using one of the following four methods:

1. Mail: Return the Opt-Out form provided in the opt-out letter in the pre-addressed stamped envelope.
2. Fax: Fax completed Opt-Out form to 1-866-422-6233.
3. Phone: Call Constellation Energy at 1-800-718-1493.
4. Web: Visit home.constellation.com/optout.

Once the opt-out period has ended, Constellation Energy will send ComEd the final list of customers for inclusion in the program.  ComEd will review the list and then switch the customers electricity supply to Constellation Energy.  Customers will be switched over before the August meter read so their electricity supply charge from August usage will be calculated using the rate of $0.04797 per kilowatt hour.

Questions for Constellation Energy can be directed to their Customer Care Center at 1-800-718-1493. Other questions or comments about the city's program can be directed to 3-1-1. 

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.