The Chicago-based energy supplier will provide residents the lowest price option, which includes the statuary minimum of 7 percent renewable energy, while also offering residents the option of purchasing 100 percent renewable energy credits.
“We are optimistic that we could put residents in the position of being able to save somewhere between $340 and $400 (between now and May 2013),” Village Manager Tim Frenzer said during the meeting. “If you think about multiplying that to just over 10,000 households you are talking between $3 to $4 million wealth saved for the community.”
Residents who want to choose 100 percent renewable energy credits could expect to pay about $10 more annually.
mc2 has already been awarded the aggregation contract for the North Shore Electricity Aggregation Consortium, which includes Highland Park, Glencoe, Lake Bluff, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Skokie and Lake Forest, according to village document.
Trustees Mixed on Renewable Energy Level
Trustees Ted McKenna and Julie Wolf voted against an amendment that stated the contract would offer residents the lowest price option. Both wanted the default option to include higher levels of renewable energy credits and offer residents the ability to opt-out. The amendment passed by a majority.
“If we think renewable energy credits are a good public policy or a good thing, not only for the Village of Wilmette … then there’s no question but to choose 100 percent,” McKenna said regarding the contract amendment. “This seems simple for me and I’d support 100 percent.”
Wolf says since the village was able to get a better rate than anticipated, and residents would still see cost-savings, the village should purchase 50 percent renewable energy.
Even though purchasing renewable energy credits does not go directly into building a windmill or solar panels, Wolf says “it can tip the balance to encourage something that can help everyone’s environment.”
Go Green Wilmette members and several residents also spoke in favor of setting 100 percent renewable energy as the default during the meeting.
All trustees, except Wolf, later voted to approve the contract with mc2.
Trustees who voted in favor of the lowest price option say the village is not in a position to spend residents’ money and urged residents who want 100 percent renewable energy village-wide to persuade their neighbors to select that option.
“What I think is appropriate for a majority of residents is to allow them to have a choice and not to force them to purchase something that they haven’t expressly asked us for,’ Trustee Mike Basil said during the meeting.
Trustee Alan Swanson says he is in favor of renewable energy and purchases it now for his house. Swanson says he is also in favor of purchasing renewable energy for village facilities, “What I’m not at a point yet, is to say I want to tell somebody else how they should be spending their money.”
Trustee Bob Bielinski said the village has to take all residents’ opinions into consideration and for the 1309 residents who voted against the electrical aggregation referendum in March, selecting 100 percent renewable energy would not be the best deal for them.
Next Steps for Electrical Aggregation
Wilmette received seven responses to its request for proposal. mc2 was selected because the company’s proposed prices on all levels of renewable energy credits were among the lowest, according to village documents.
Residents will not be charged for opting in or out of the program. Even though the village has selected mc2 as the new electricity supplier, Commonwealth Edison will still be dealing with power distribution and handling monthly bills for Wilmette and Kenilworth residents. Residents should still call ComEd if service were interrupted.
The village will now work to lock-in a price for participating residents with the goal of switching electricity suppliers in August. Village officials say the electricity supply price should not be more than ComEd rates, and if it is the contract allows the village to default back to ComEd rates.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Trustee Ted McKenna voted against the agreement with mc2, and incorrectly named trustee Swanson's first name. The story has been corrected.