Aurora moves ahead with new energy consultant

By Steve Lord Aurora Beacon-News | Oct 21, 2019 | 7:27 AM

The Aurora City Council is set to approve a deal with a new energy consulting and agency firm.

Aldermen are expected to approve Progressive Energy Group to assist the city in acquiring natural gas, electric supply and demand response programs, along with providing an aggregation option. Progressive has a local office in Aurora.Advertisement

The city has had two previous providers for similar services. In 2012, the city contracted with Good Energy, and then with Tradition Energy in 2016. The city has had a consultant of some sort since 2007, when electric rates were deregulated at the federal level.

Chuck Nelson, deputy mayor, told aldermen at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting that the city has 70 facilities where it uses electricity, costing about $2.2 million.

Progressive would charge $19,000 in the first year of consulting, and $3,000 per year after that. Most of the money is only paid if Progressive guarantees a minimum of $120,000 in electric rate savings, spread over several areas.

The company will watch both pricing and procurement of electricity and natural gas. In addition, the company will watch: applicability of taxes, utility rates and tariff charges; utility metering charges; demand response programs; green and carbon free programs; Illinois solar for all programs; recommendations for savings; supplier contract review and compliance with industry standards; execution strategy for implementation; ongoing energy industry trends and marketplace intelligence; and budget review and development for energy supply and delivery.

“Their pricing is very, very competitive,” Nelson said of Progressive.

Progressive has already recommended a new energy aggregation deal for the city, through Eligo Energy of Chicago. The 18-month contract would set a maximum rate for that time, and would be provided to about half of Aurora’s home electric customers, or about 25,000 to 30,000 customers.

Progressive and the city would pick the customers at first, based on which would be the best candidates for the Eligo deal. Eligo’s energy would be 100 percent green, officials said.

While half would get their energy through Eligo and half through ComEd, the rates would be exactly the same, and residents still would be billed through ComEd. The difference is that Eligo’s energy comes from 100 percent green sources, and ComEd’s from a combination, which is known as brown energy.

Arnie Schramel, of Progressive Energy, told aldermen the rates will never go higher than ComEd’s, and anyone chosen to go with Eligo can opt out. By the same token, people who would rather go with Eligo may apply to do so, he said.

By getting the green energy for at least half the city, officials can apply for green energy grants and certificates to eventually go 100 percent green throughout the whole city, Schramel said.

“What we’re aiming for are the credits and grants,” said Ald. Robert O’Connor, at large. “The prices will be the same for everybody. There will be no variation in costs.”

Schramel said the good candidates for Eligo would essentially be people who use less electricity between 3 and 6 p.m. Those whose electric loads are higher during those times would be put with ComEd, he said.

He added that ComEd, because it is almost all smart meters now, can pinpoint usage to a specific hour.

Aldermen put both the new contract with Progressive, and the contract with Eligo, on the consent agenda for the Oct. 22 regular meeting, which means they are likely to be approved.Advertisement

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