Municipal Electric Aggregation
Electric Aggregation Notification (12/18/2019)
The Village of Hawthorn Woods is pleased to announce the negotiation of a new municipal aggregation agreement with NIMEC (Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative). The Village is leaving First Energy Solutions and contracting with Chicago-based MC Squared Energy Services as our municipal aggregation supplier. The program term begins in February 2020 through February 2023. With competitive bids from qualified suppliers all above the ComEd rate, the Village chose a program that guarantees competitive rates from green energy sources and also provides a new benefit. All pay exactly the ComEd rate and the Village is provided with an environmental reserve fund – at no cost to residents or the Village. We are proud that our participation in this aggregation program from inception to date has saved our residents over $1.7 Million Dollars.
This week, all residents will receive a letter from your electricity supplier. You need to do nothing to participate in the aggregation program. If your letter says you will be enrolled with MC Squared Energy Services, you will receive a second notice from ComEd in January confirming your switch to MC Squared. If your letter says you will remain with ComEd, you also need to do nothing. Either way, you pay the same rate and will be considered a program participant.
If you choose to opt out of the Village aggregation program, you may do so at any time. (The Opt out notice can be viewed here.) Whether you are with MC Squared or ComEd, you pay exactly the same rate, so there will be no difference in your billing amount due. There are no termination fees. Residents that have a different provider can choose to opt into the program. (The Opt in notice can be viewed here.)
If you should have any questions, please call the Village of Hawthorn Woods aggregation program supplier, MC Squared, at 855-285-7838. If you require additional assistance, please call the Village’s energy consultant, NIMEC, at 800-727-3820, to leave your question and callback number. You will be contacted by NIMEC within 24 hours.
Hawthorn Woods Electric Aggregation Program Facts
Following the passage of a 2012 voter referendum, the Village of Hawthorn Woods contracted to procure electric supply in bulk for residents and small business owners. Program participants from program inception to date have saved, on average, $867 on their ComEd bills, for a Village-wide cumulative savings over $1.7 million.
The Village recently received competitive bids from qualified suppliers to renew the program. With all bids above the ComEd rate, the Village pivoted to contract a new program wherein ratepayers will be charged exactly the ComEd rate (including the monthly variable portion), for zero rate risk. The program benefit residents in that the Village will be provided with an environmental reserve fund—at no increased cost to residents or the Village. The program term is 36 months to February 2023.
Background: The cost of serving each electric account varies greatly. Some ratepayer accounts will be switched to ComEd because the cost of generation for the usage profile exceeds the ComEd rate. Others will be switched to the new supplier, Chicago-based MC Squared Energy Services. All will pay exactly the same ComEd rate, including ComEd’s monthly variable PEA component. Notices will be mailed to residents and small business owners on December 19, 2019.
- Ratepayers receiving an opt out notice will automatically be enrolled with MC Squared and will pay exactly the ComEd rate, including the monthly variable PEA, unless they choose to opt out. If they do not opt out, they will receive a Confirmation of Switch notice from ComEd in January 2020, confirming their switch to MC Squared. (The Opt out notice can be viewed here.)
- Some ratepayers currently receiving supply from ComEd will receive an informative notice about the program, and they will remain a customer of ComEd. (The informational notice can be viewed here.)
- Some ratepayers will receive an informative notice indicating their supply service will move from legacy supplier FirstEnergy, back to ComEd. In January they will receive a “Confirmation of Drop” notice from ComEd. Those ratepayers, although served by ComEd, are still considered participants of the Hawthorn Woods Electric Aggregation Community.
- Guaranteed to be charged the ComEd rate, with no risk of paying more than ComEd
- No hidden fees, no additional monthly fee
- Maximum flexibility to join or leave the program, and never an enrollment or switch fee
- Supplier provides an environmental reserve fund to the Village at no increased cost
No one from MC Squared, ComEd, or the Village will ever visit your home or call you to enroll. If a solicitor claims to be the Village supplier, MC Squared, or ComEd, please take their information and report the incident to the ICC at www.icc.illinois.gov/consumer/complaint. Never reveal your ComEd account number or allow a solicitor to view your ComEd bill unless you are certain you wish to enroll with that supplier and have read all terms and conditions.
Electric Aggregation Program FAQs
- How can I enroll?
- During the initial three-week opt out period you need do nothing if you received an opt out notice; you will automatically be enrolled unless you opt out.
- I am located within Hawthorn Woods, have switched to another Supplier, but would like to join. Can I do this?
- Yes. Call MC Squared at 855-285-7838 and provide them with your ComEd account number. If you are enrolled with an alternative supplier that is not the Village’s program, you are advised to review your contract, or call your supplier to understand any termination fees to which you may be subject.
- What is the current ComEd rate?
- The annualized base ComEd rate through May 2020 is 7.224¢ per kWh, plus or minus the monthly Purchased Electricity Adjustment (PEA), which can be up to one-half cent. For more information, visit pluginillinois.org.
- Will I get two bills, one from ComEd and another from the new supplier?
- No. ComEd continues to bill for electric supply, delivery and taxes. ComEd delivers electricity, and will continue to bill you, but they no longer supply it.
- If I am automatically enrolled, can I leave the program at any time?
- Yes. You will never be charged a termination fee.
What is ComEd’s six-month “hold” requirement?
- Please note State Regulations: If you move from the program back to ComEd for longer than two months, your account is placed in a “bundled hold” status, and you may not return to the Hawthorn Woods program until a full six months has passed.
- I am enrolled in a low-income assistance program. Will I still receive those benefits?
- If you currently receive assistance via PIPP or LIHEAP, your status will not be affected.
- Does the program impact my ComEd budget billing or auto-payment plan?
- No. The way you pay your ComEd bill does not change.
- What happens if I move?
- If you remain within the Village limits, call MC Squared to re-enroll at your new address. Residents moving into the community may participate by calling 855-285-7838.
- Is the energy generated from any renewable “green” energy sources?
- Yes. RECs, the sole currency of the green energy market, will represent 16% of power consumed. This is the current minimum IL Renewable Portfolio Standard.
For specific questions about your electric account, do not call Village Hall; call the Village of Hawthorn Woods’s aggregation program supplier MC Squared at 855-285-7838. If you require additional assistance, call the Village’s energy consultant, NIMEC at 800-727-3820 to leave your question and callback number. You will be contacted by NIMEC within 24 hours.
The Illinois Commerce Commission provides additional information about energy deregulation in Illinois and energy supply choices at www.pluginillinois.org. To report an electrical outage, or for questions pertaining to your ComEd bill, always call ComEd at 800-334-7661.
Village Board Approves Electric Aggregation Plan of Operations and Governance
The Hawthorn Woods Village Board formally adopted the electric aggregation governance on November 27, 2012. Village staff has coordinated the bid process with the Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative, or NIMEC.
As outlined in the Plan of Operations and Governance, the Village will select a rate for electric supply from a qualified provider. The Village Board has agreed that the Village will not take a municipal contribution from the winning supplier in order to pass 100 percent of the savings on to the residents. Additionally, the Village Board has decided that there will be no fee to opt in or opt out of the aggregation program. This means that residents can enter the program at no cost and will not be charged if they leave the program for a more attractive electricity supplier.
Residents currently with an electric supplier other than ComEd are advised to first check with their supplier to determine what, if any, early termination fee they may be subject to. Then they can decide if they wish to pay that fee, or wait until their contract expires. Then, once the opt-out process has started, these residents should call the toll-free service number of the winning supplier and ask to be enrolled and specifically ask for the Hawthorn Woods aggregation rate and terms.
Email Chief Financial Officer Kristin Kazenas with any comments or questions or call (847) 847-3590.
What is Electric Aggregation?
Municipal electric aggregation allows municipalities to pool residential and small commercial retail customers together to seek bids with the objective of securing lower electric rates than the rate paid by ComEd customers that is set by the Illinois Power Agency. By creating these economies of scale, a community can leverage the buying power of thousands of residents and small businesses in an effort to obtain a lower price for the supply of electricity.
There are two main components to electricity: supply and distribution. As a result of deregulation of the electric supply market in Illinois, ComEd no longer generates or supplies electricity, but simply delivers electricity to homes and businesses through its infrastructure and power lines. ComEd has not been a supplier of electricity since 2007. With aggregation, a municipality can seek a lower price for the supply of electricity with alternative suppliers; however, ComEd would, by law, continue to distribute electricity to consumers through its infrastructure.
What makes this possible now?
In 2009, the State of Illinois amended the Illinois Power Agency Act with Public Act 96-0716 to provide for the municipal aggregation of electricity. Commercial accounts were enjoying significant savings on their electric supply, but few residents had switched to lower-cost suppliers. This Act enabled municipalities across Illinois to seek lower rates for its entire community. The objective was to drive rates lower by pooling together the larger electric load across an entire community. Residents were previously able to purchase electricity from an alternate supplier but the savings was not as significant.
What is the process for Electric Aggregation?
In order for the Village to create a municipal aggregation program, a referendum must be approved by a majority of voters. The Village Board approved a resolution at the July 16, 2012 Village Board meeting, providing for the referendum question to appear on the November 6, 2012. Voters approved this referendum question.
Now that the referendum has been approved, the Village can solicit proposals from suppliers who are licensed by the Illinois Commerce Commission as alternative retail electric suppliers in the State of Illinois. Proposals are reviewed, and the Village determines if and with whom it will enter into an agreement for energy supply. If favorable pricing does not exist, the Village will not enter into an agreement, and accounts would remain at the IPA-set rate at ComEd.
How will this affect me?
All residents and small businesses will be automatically enrolled in the program unless they "opt-out." Before the aggregation program begins, all residents will receive two opportunities to opt out of the program. The winning supplier sends an opt-out notice to all eligible residential and small commercial accounts. Unless the account holder responded to the notice, the account would automatically be enrolled at the lower rate. This opt out notice would include details about the rate, the term, the savings versus the IPA-set rate and the term. Residents would later receive notice from ComEd that their account was to be moved to the new supplier. Residents would again have the opportunity to opt out of the program.
Regardless of whichever option residents and businesses chose, ComEd remains the utility provider delivering electricity to homes and businesses. Residents would continue to receive one ComEd bill that would include the supply charges from the new lower-cost supplier, and residents would continue to be encouraged to call ComEd in case of an outage or service need. The only difference would be a change in the supply rate of the electricity bill.
Links to more information:
- Plug In Illinois
- Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative (NIMEC)
- Communities Pursuing an Opt-Out Municipal Electric Aggregation Program and Rates
- Illinois Public Act 097-0338 - Aggregation of electrical load by municipalities and counties (PDF)
- Citizen's Utility Board Fact Sheet
- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
- Municipal Electric Aggregation Fact Sheet (PDF)