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City Council Again Discusses Putting Power Aggregation Back on the Ballot

The council will decide at its next meeting if the matter should be placed on the ballot for the March primary election

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.

Karen Karson December 06, 2011 at 01:11 PM
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.” What has changed? I trusted them more in April than I do now. The voters spoke in April...so your going to shove this down our throats until we vote the way you want us to?
Bob B December 06, 2011 at 02:46 PM
1. They aren't shoving anything down our throats; they are possibly putting it back on a ballot for another vote. 2. My guess is that many people did not understand what this meant, so logically they would have voted against it. Perhaps more education of us citizens on this issue is needed. 3. As I recall, not a whole lot of people voted on this issue, so it's not a bad idea to have another vote. I'll admit that I don't fully understand what this change would mean, but I sure wouldn't mind saving the money.
Karen Karson December 06, 2011 at 02:56 PM
In order for them to Save us Money..they need to spend Money to see if its even something they want to persue. This counsel does not want to help its citizens, it just wants to be on the list of contributors for this plan.
Ralph "Cash" Beardsley December 06, 2011 at 06:22 PM
The main problem with this proposition last year was that it was presented/ worded on the ballot very poorly. If the public was better able to understand the rationale for this it very likely would have passed. It should be placed on the ballot again- with clearer wording and some explanation of the intent. Since the March primary figures to have light turnout the City also needs to make an effort to get the word out on this and enable voters to better understand the question.

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