Oak Parkers are quite right to be concerned about the switch from green to brown energy. I share those concerns. Sustainability is one of our most deeply held community values.
But ComEd raised the cost of its transmission system, which we have to rely on, even if the energy source we use is 100 percent renewable. Not only that: They are also going to raise their rates in June. We don't know how big that increase is going to be. Binding all Oak Parkers to an electricity contract is about as wide-ranging an action as a village board can take. Not knowing the amount of ComEd's June increase could end up costing 52,000 residents way more than the $4/month figure that's been floating around.
The board made the right decision by choosing the contract that would cost consumers less. We are not, as some are arguing, jettisoning our commitment to green power in favor of dirty energy. We are protecting our residents' pocketbooks while at the same time working to create a multitude of green energy solutions (like we're doing in with the Korean Smart Grid Institute, for example, to integrate smart grid technology wherever we can.)
We had to take the action we took on Friday morning to protect the economic interests of all of our residents. No one should doubt that we will continue to place green initiatives at the top of our policy priority list.
Oak Park is a green community and it will stay that way.