August 30, 2012

No ‘alternate energy’ for Winnetka residents

By Andy Ambrosius | Winnetka Patch | 29 August 2012

While Northfield may be putting a question regarding alternate energy sources on its ballot in November, don’t expect to see a similar question in Winnetka any time soon.

According to a statement released by Winnetka officials, the village will not be following suit.

“You may have heard about Illinois voters placing referendum questions on their local ballot to permit their municipality to purchase electricity from a supplier other than ComEd,” wrote the village.

“This approach, known as municipal electric aggregation, allows communities to purchase electricity directly from an alternative electric supplier, at what is suggested will be a lower rate than currently offered by ComEd,” the statment continued. “Electric Aggregation is not an option for Winnetka residents, since the Village owns and operates its own electric system.”

Winnetka purchases its power through the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency, and in turn, the village maintains control over the system and its rates. In addition, officials say the source is much more reliable for residents.

“In the recent past, the Village benefited from this system, as it resulted in noticeably more reliable electric service to our customers when compared to many of our neighbors during the 2011 summer storms,” the statement reads.

“Electric Aggregation is not an option for Winnetka residents, since the Village owns and operates its own electric system.”

And to make the system even more reliable, Winnetka officials are in the process of adding a second $2.2 million transformer in Northfield on Happ Road, according to Winnetka Talk. This is the same location where the village constructed a transformer substation in 1996, and it will be paid for by the utility’s capital fund.

However, unlike neighboring communities like Lake Forest, Kenilworth and Evanston, Winnetka still isn’t going 100 percent green and dedicating its electricity sources to only renewable energy. According to the village, 60 percent of Winnetka’s power is sourced from fossil fuels, while just five percent of the energy is provided by a long-term contract for wind energy generated in Lee and Dekalb counties.

By committing to 100 percent renewable energy, administrators in the City of Evanston are expecting to prevent 313,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

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