The Darien City Council Monday night for the discussed the possibility of again giving voters in the community the opportunity to decide if they want the city to participate in an electrical aggregation program that could bring reduced rates for electricity to residents.
Darien residents the idea in April. During a working session prior to the start of their regular meeting at Monday night, council members discussed the reasons for the no vote.
Ward Three Alderman John Poteraske said most of the people who voted against the ballot initiative did so because “they didn’t trust the council.”
Ward Six Alderman Sylvia McIvor speculated that residents did not have enough information to make an informed decision, while Mayor Kathleen Weaver suggested that the wording of the referendum question was confusing.
Assistant City Administrator Scott Coren noted that out of more than 30 Illinois communities that have voted on electrical aggregation, Darien is one of just two that failed to approve the idea.
Approval of an electrical aggregation referendum would give the city the opportunity to negotiate with companies to provide electricity to the community. The electricity would continue to be transmitted to homes and businesses by ComEd; customers would continue to receive their bills from ComEd; and ComEd would continue to respond to any service outage problems.
Coren said residents would have a 60-day window to “opt out” of participating in the program, allowing them to stick with their current provider.
During the regular portion of the meeting, McIvor asked if there was any downside for residents participating in the program.
“We haven’t found any,” City Administrator Bryon Vana responded. “It seems to be a no-brainer.”
Coren said residents in Oak Brook, which approved electrical aggregation in April, have seen a 30 percent decrease in their electrical bills, with average savings of $150 per customer.
Coren said the deadline to put the measure on the March 20 primary ballot is Jan. 3, meaning the city council would have to approve the initiative at its next council meeting. It was the consensus of the council members to have the matter placed on the agenda for their Dec. 19 meeting.