Municipal Aggregation or Community Energy Choice: The Right Choice For Consumers, Communities and the Environment

Friday October 19 2012

What is Community Energy Choice?

In Illinois, communities are allowed to purchase electricity on behalf of their residents and small businesses. By “aggregating” its customers into one big group, a community can negotiate with suppliers and get better deals for electricity on behalf of its citizens. Part of getting a better deal is getting a choice of where the community’s power comes from. Over 200 communities across the state have already opted for community choice—and a number of them have chosen renewable energy to help meet their electricity needs.

What will Chicago be voting on this November?

In November, Chicago voters will vote on a referendum to determine whether the City should have the authority to buy electricity on behalf of its residents. This isn’t a vote on a specific energy plan. Instead, it’s a vote that would allow the City to purchase electricity for its residents. We’re asking the City to make sure that, if the referendum passes, the City has a plan to create new, local jobs that save energy and make Chicago run on renewable energy.

How does the referendum affect me?

Right now, Chicago gets almost half of its electricity from coal-fired power and less than ten percent from renewable resources. This referendum would give the City an opportunity to change the way that Chicago gets its power. Done right, the City’s purchase of power could support the development of new, local, renewable resources. That will boost the economy, save energy, be good for the environment, and keep rates down for everyone.

How does the referendum affect Illinois?

Illinois currently has a state requirement that a certain amount of energy come from renewable resources. Right now, the requirement is at 7% of the total supply. We know the City can do better. At the same time, we also are asking the City to take care that any purchase of renewable energy that it makes fits together with the existing standard and allows renewable goals to continue to be met across the State.

What can I do?

You can make your voice heard to the City by voting in November to give the City the authority to “aggregate,” and sign the attached petition, which asks the City to create local jobs and make our city run on renewable energy.

You can also come to one of four community forums sponsored by the City (see Bulletin for details).

Also help us spread the word that a “yes” vote on November’s vote on community energy choice referendum is a big opportunity for Chicago to be a world leader in renewable energy.