New Electricity Contract Provides Cleaner Mix, Renewable Options

As part of the newly aggregated electricity contract with Constellation Energy, the City of Elmhurst has:

  • negotiated a cleaner electricity supply for residents and small businesses;
  • offset the supply mix with the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs); and
  • is offering consumers the opportunity to go one step further by increasing their REC purchase from 50% to 100%.

Elmhurst’s new supply mix is substantially cleaner than previously, decreasing its use of coal from 44% to 14%. The cleaner mix will reduce carbon emissions.

WindTurbinesPhotoMP900424398Coal-fired power plants are the biggest contributors to toxic air and water pollution and the single biggest source of greenhouse gases in the United States, harming humans and the environment.

In addition to reducing the coal mix, City leaders renewed their commitment to cleaner energy by offsetting 50% of its energy mix with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

RECs are an accounting mechanism used to monetize the green attributes of a particular electricity source, which can then be bought or sold separately from the electricity. Each REC represents one megawatt-hour of electricity generated from a qualified renewable energy source.

RECs enable individuals and organizations to channel funds to green power projects, mitigating the environmental impact of their energy use. In both the 2012 and 2014 contracts, the City supported renewable energy with 50% RECs.

Residents and small businesses have an opportunity to increase their RECs to 100% by contacting the Constellation Call Center at 1-800-718-1493. The contracted 50% REC rate is 7.51 cents/kWh. The cost to “opt up” to 100% RECs is a rate of 7.58 cents/kWh for 36 months. Residents and small businesses can opt up at any time during the three year contract.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the average household electricity bill will increase about 20 percent, to $82 per month, because of a June 1 price hike. Rates are rising across the board because of capacity charge increases, designed to ensure that power generators are ready to meet electricity demand at its worst. Elmhurst will be hit with these rate increases, but the jump will still be lower than ComEd rates.

In order to lower energy bills, residents and small businesses should consider upgrading their energy efficiency. To schedule an energy efficiency assessment, visit Energy Impact Illinois. For energy savings tips, visit the Citizens Utility Board website.