Residents and small businesses can save an estimated $189 over the next three years as part of a successful electrical aggregation partnership with eight other area municipalities brokered by consultant Progressive Energy Group.

The estimated savings is based on the assumption that the current Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) rate of 7.596 cents does not change over the next three years.

Aurora Township Supervisor Bill Catching said the township had selected Direct Energy Services to supply its residents and small businesses with power for the next three years.

Through this new agreement, participants will receive a fixed price of 7.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) on electricity or they can opt-in to 100% renewable energy at a price of 7.45 cents per kWh.

“We are pleased to offer residents and small businesses the chance to save a significant amount on their annual electricity bills,” Catching said. “We appreciate the work done by Progressive Energy Group in finding our customers a rate lower than Commonwealth Edison’s.”

Residents and small businesses in the unincorporated areas will receive two letters describing the changes. The first letter will come from Aurora Township and Direct Energy Services explaining the program. ComEd will send out a second letter stating that the electric supplier will switch from First Energy, our current supplier, to Direct Energy.

State law allows units of local government to seek bids from alternative energy suppliers for their residents and small businesses instead of ComEd, the local utility.

In November 2012, voters approved a referendum that allowed Aurora Township to be one of the first Illinois townships to pursue electrical aggregation. The first electrical aggregation bid offered a $300 a year savings from ComEd prices and was set to expire in August 2014.

The current energy market is much different with energy prices significantly higher than in previous years from both alternative suppliers and ComEd.

Aurora Township joined forces with Big Rock, Cortland, Malta, Maple Park, Marseilles, Plano, Shabbona and Waterman for the new aggregation partnership. By combining with other local governments, the township reached a size where alternative energy providers would offer a rate lower than ComEd’s.

Starting in September 2014, Direct Energy’s rate will be 7.2 cents per kWh. ComEd’s base rate will be 7.596 per kilowatt hour in the summer and is anticipated to be 7.42 cents per kWh in the winter.

If ComEd’s rates dip below Direct Energy’s 7.2 kWh rate during the contract, Progressive Energy will notify township customers, who can opt out of the aggregation program at no cost.