Champaign to set electricity rates

CHAMPAIGN — City council members will set residents' new electricity prices Tuesday night, but officials will not know what those prices might be until the afternoon.

The Champaign City Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. (Tuesday, May 22) in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

Public Works Director Dennis Schmidt expects about six electricity supply companies to bid on the city's municipal electric aggregation program, and those bids are due at 1 p.m. today. Officials have said they expect that the prices will be roughly a couple cents under what most residents currently pay, 6.36 cents per kilowatt hour.

The final bids will include $100,000 in revenue for the city to replace the costs it has incurred to date setting up the program plus the costs of administering the program for the next year, Schmidt said.

If council members approve one of the bids later this evening, officials expect the new prices to become effective toward the end of July.

City council members are expected to consider a range of different prices and types of energy after administrators asked for bids on up to 100 percent renewable energy.

This step in the process has already been completed in Urbana, where the city council this month approved a new price of 4.06 cents per kilowatt hour for 100 percent renewable power from Homefield Energy. City officials expect that will save $195 for an Urbana household that uses 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.

According to city documents, officials expect Homefield Energy will be submitting a bid for Champaign's program, too.

Urbana has moved on to the next step — informing residents of the coming changes and allowing them to choose not to participate — which is what Champaign will be required to do if city council members approve a bid tonight.

Voters approved the municipal electric aggregation program by a 2-to-1 margin during a March referendum. Most electric customers will be automatically enrolled in the program and need to do nothing to experience the savings.

In Illinois, residents have the ability to shop for better electric supply prices, but the vast majority do not. Those customers pay a default rate, which currently stands at 6.36 cents per kilowatt-hour. According to the Illinois Commerce Commission, the default rate will drop to 6.17 cents in June and to 5.46 cents in October.

If the city council accepts a bid tonight, most Champaign customers would be switched over in July to the lower price.

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bb wrote on May 22, 2012 at 10:05 am

These "estimates" of savings always use the current rate and no adjustment for the summer rate, when most of us use the majority of our electricity for the year.  It's almost 1 cent per Kwh less then, so when I adjust for that, I save about $60 next year (probably less the following year if rates adjust down due to oversupply).  I would have been better off taking the $50 incentive from the energy companies that were offering it earlier with a rate in the middle somewhere.  Oh well, much ado about nothing compared to the new annual stormwater fee that effectively boosts city taxes on a homeowner of a $80,000 house by 20%!  That one is a regressive "flat" tax that hits those with the smaller houses hardest, especially in Urbana where there is just one rate for residential properties.  It will be interesting to see how much of the projected revenue from the stormwater fee disappears into the "credits" that are available to the University & commercial property owners for detention ponds, etc.