After brown vote, village all-in on opting for green

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Oak Park's effort to turn a controversial vote for brown energy into a green spring continued to pick up momentum Tuesday as the village invited nearly 50 local organizations to village hall to hear plans to build green energy opt outs ahead of a May 8 deadline, to learn about other village hall plans on sustainability, and, generally, to convince environmental activists that the village board's recent brown energy vote does not reflect a change in focus. 

"People are so focused on green energy right now and we want to take advantage of that interest," said Village Manager Cara Pavlicek. "All of these folks are doing a whole bunch of work. We want to engage them."

As of last Thursday, the village reported that 323 local households had made the call to Constellation Energy to opt out of the brown energy default and instead to choose the slightly more expensive – perhaps less than one dollar a month – green alternative. With more than 20,000 households in Oak Park, the opt out number is starting low but clearly the village wants to ramp it up.

Village President Anan Abu-Taleb on Monday was expressing regret for his vote and was urging supporters to opt out for green. Late last week he used his political list – Anan for Oak Park – to send an e-mail asking residents to opt out.

Pavlicek was working with Oak Parker Gary Cuneen, executive director of Seven Generations Ahead, to bring activists to village hall Tuesday. It was a week ago that Cuneen blistered Abu-Taleb and the village board for its energy vote. 

Pavlicek said she also anticipated talking Tuesday morning about plans for how to fill the village's Sustainability Coordinator post which was recently vacated with the resignation of K.C. Doyle. Pavlicek said she wanted to answer questions and listen.

Contact:
Email: dhaley@wjinc.com Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

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Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2014 11:07 PM

@Bill, I don't know if they are a scam, but now having researched what "renewable energy" is and what RECs are, this all may be more symbolic than any meaningful contribution to reducing our carbon footprint. Which, people may be fine with that. Human behavior--why people do what they do. These last three weeks have been quite a study in that...

Bill from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2014 10:22 PM

These green options are clearly a scam. All they do is allow you to "claim" your energy was generated by a renewable source. Does anybody really understand the economics behind green plan actually does? Seems OP would be better off installing some solar panels to actually generate renewable energy instead of stroking their vanity with these so called Green options.

Rhona Taylor from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2014 8:45 PM

Did this today. EASY. No code needed: Call Constellation, OP's new energy provider, at 1-800-718-1493 to choose 100% renewable (green) energy. Have your ComEd account number when you call.

Bill from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 9:21 PM

@Dan Haley. Can Wj provide some information on how the green plan works and a way to calculate the actual green benefits of the plan? Seems the small price differential doesn't really provide much.

Kristen Hollinden  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 8:07 PM

I didn't need the code, even though I had one! The code provided via the mail wasn't registering within their system...it took 20 minutes, but they finally got it right w/o needing that code.

Matt Baron from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 3:54 PM

Would be good to see how Oak Park's opt-in numbers compare to other communities that have had this scenario. What are the names of those towns, and what were their numbers? Not sure if this info is readily obtainable? If so, would be one way to see how Oak Park's response compares with others and put the village's green reputation to the test and in fuller context.

June from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 3:47 PM

I chose to "opt-out" completely & go w/ComEd & I don't really care if it is more expensive or green. It is less complicated! I don't have time to sort thru all of this

Scott McMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 3:37 PM

According to the Constellation rep, you have to "opt-out" of the brown plan before you "opt-in" to the green plan. They have no account records, so they apparently cannot do it without the code that the Village sent out. I'd like to opt-in to the "no-hassle" plan, or the "sign up online for green power" plan. I'm amazed there's not a website to make the switch . . . where's the electricity coming from? 1976?

Rob Breymaier from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 2:46 PM

Thanks! More than double the number in a day. I think publishing the low number got people to make the move.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 2:18 PM

The term "opt out" should not be used if you want the 100% renewable energy from Constellation. You are choosing to "opt in" to that option.//"Opting out" means that you want out of the aggregation program altogether. Out of Constellation altogether.

Scott McMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 1:55 PM

Just tried to do this . . . the constellation rep couldn't do it without an "opt-out" code. Not as easy as advertised.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 12:32 PM

@June If you send in the postcard, you are opting out of OP's energy aggregation program and going back to ComEd. If you want to opt into the aggregation program's green option, you must call the 800 number. You can still do it even though you sent in the postcard. Just call by May 8.

June from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 12:07 PM

I didn't call to opt out, I simply mailed in the post card

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: April 30th, 2014 11:27 AM

Rob, we are working with the village to get updated numbers as frequently as possible. We have a new number as of Tuesday afternoon which will be going up shortly. 600+ as I remember.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: April 30th, 2014 10:59 AM

Rob, we are working with the village to get fresh numbers as often as possible. In fact, we have a new number from late Tuesday and it will go up shortly. 600+ as I remember.

Rob Breymaier from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 30th, 2014 10:20 AM

I hope you'll continually update the numbers so we can see the progress.

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