The Village of Wilmette held the first of two public hearings on its electrical aggregation program Tuesday.
On March 20, Wilmette and Kenilworth voters authorized the villages to seek cheaper electricity supply for residential and commercial retail customers who have not opted out of the program.
Several residents addressed the Village Board regarding Wilmette Power Purchasing Program’s plan of governance. The plan currently recommends seeking bids from suppliers for various contract periods, different levels of renewable energy sources and not charging participants for opting in or out. The contract would be awarded after Commonwealth Edison announced its electricity rates, typically in June, so the village would have all pricing information available.
For more details on the plan of governance, read: Wilmette to Host Electrical Aggregation Plan Hearings
Some Residents Want Lowest Electricity Bill
Elaine Beck, a 38-year Wilmette resident, told the board that she’s speaking on behalf of longtime residents seeking relief from electricity costs.
“I’m really delighted the board has an opportunity to search for an electrical power provider that can supply that relief–a lower monthly rate,” Beck said. “I encourage the board to get the lowest monthly rate, and I emphasize the lowest rate. We are also interested in the best price possible, which would mean lowering our monthly bill.”
Marguerite McKenna echoed Beck’s thoughts and also urged the board to “obtain the best deal” for residents.
“I surely hope we can pay the lowest price possible,” McKenna told the board.
Some Residents Want Environment Taken into Consideration
Other residents recommended the board consider going beyond the State’s requirement that 7 percent of the energy supply is from renewable sources.
“I think that if it’s only $1 to $2 for 100 percent renewable resources then Wilmette should absolutely go with 100 percent renewable resources,” Annie Aggens, told the board. “I’m very sensitive to people with fixed incomes that really don’t have that $1 or $2 a month extra for renewable, I completely understand that, but again there’s the option for those people to opt out.”
Several residents recommended the village reword the plan to say “most favorable electricity rates,” instead of “lowest possible electricity rates,” and take sustainability of the environment into account.
“I hope you will consider not only the cost but some of the environmental impact of what we are doing because we do have an option,” Trudy Gibbs told the board.
Go Green Wilmette, a local nonprofit that supports creating a sustainable environment, has been urging the village to choose electricity with a minimum of 50 percent coming from renewable sources in its plan of governance. The group hopes the village will take environmental costs into consideration when selecting an electricity supplier.
“The low upfront costs from aging coal and nuclear plants are enticing in this time of economic hardship, but it is important to not lose sight of all the hidden costs already paid in the form of government subsidies to environmentally harmful energy sources and the higher expenditures for health care as a result of pollution,” Go Green Wilmette recently wrote on Patch.
The village will host the second public hearing for Wilmette Power Purchasing Program’s plan of governance during its regular board meeting on May 22 and anticipates approving the plan then.