It’s been a long road, but Kane County is poised to lock in electricity rates Tuesday for residents of rural Kane County.
At Tuesday’s County Board meeting, the board is expected to OK a motion authorizing County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen to execute an electric aggregation contract within 24 hours of a consultant securing its recommended rate.
County Board member Kurt Kojzarek, the chairman of the county’s Energy and Environmental Committee, said the board is granting the chairman that authority because of the volatility in the energy market.
“As you would remember from the last time you likely took out a loan on your home, the mortgage rate changes day to day,” Kojzarek said. “When you can secure a good rate, you lock it in as soon as possible. The energy market is much more fluid. If we waited until the rate went through the standard procedure for approval — Energy and Environment Committee to Executive Committee to County Board — we could see 20 or more days go by, and 20-plus different rates.”
Kojzarek underlined that the county won’t make a move unless it secures a rate that will lower electricity-bills payments for residents who live in unincorporated parts of Kane County. The rate would apply only to rural residents who have chosen not to opt out.
“Once the chairman locks in a rate, we begin notifying ComEd of the change,” Kojzarek said. “The owners will see the same invoice from ComEd, but receive a lower overall rate. The change in price will be the only difference the owners see — the billing and service will all remain the same.”
Kojzarek, who lives in Gilberts, said his community hired Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative — the same consultant Kane County selected — for a similar electricity aggregation effort, and the result was significantly lower electric rates.
“My family has been happy with our electric bills, especially during the Christmas season, when my Clark Griswold side takes full effect and our Christmas lights go up,” Kojzarek said.
If Kane County pulls the trigger, lower electric rates likely won’t kick in until after Jan. 1. Kojzarek said he hopes that the lower rates will save residents anywhere from $100 to $200 a year.
The process of locking in those rates has taken some time — “most of my first term,” Kojzarek said. He first discussed the idea with Lauzen in 2012. The county then had to inform residents of the potential benefits, launch and pass a referendum, establish the parameters for the request for proposal, interview potential consultants, choose NIMEC and formulate the bid.
“If we can secure a lower rate for these residents and save them some money, it will have been worth the effort,” Kojzarek said.