Vote yes for Oak Park's energy referendum

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Amie Casson

Community choice aggregation is a program that allows a municipality to seek bids for electricity rates for residential and small-business customers within the municipality by bundling — or aggregating — their electric accounts. A question on the April 5 ballot will ask Oak Park voters to authorize the village to implement a community electricity aggregation program. That is something to get excited about!

The goal of the program is timely: to save money on electrical bills and, potentially, reduce our community's carbon footprint by asking bidders to supply a greater share of the power from greener sources like solar and wind.

It's not a new idea. Currently, well over one-million Americans are participating in aggregation, and the number is growing daily. It has been successfully implemented in states such as Ohio, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Community choice aggregation has few downsides. Everyone will be given opportunities to opt out of the program. And, if no bids meet the goals of the community aggregation plan, the village is under no obligation to accept them. And, yes, our electricity would still be delivered by ComEd, which would remain responsible for customer service, such as billing and outage response. The only change on one's bill would be the name of the energy supplier and the rate charged for the energy supply, which likely will be less than the current rate.

Bottom (and green) line: Aggregation is a great example of the kind of bottom-up strategy we need to implement if we are going to move into a green, renewable energy future. Together we need to make the conscious effort to seek out green, renewable energy. The greater our demand, the greater the investment will be in renewable green energy. We have made many advances in the area of renewable energy and green alternatives. However, we have yet to replace conventional energy with an eco-friendly source — and that is why aggregation is so promising.

Join me and vote yes on the April 5 electricity purchase option. For more information, visit www.oak-park.us/aggregation.

n Amie Casson is a 10-year Oak Park resident and an advertising executive.

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