DeKalb electric bills could jump 55 percent

Note to readers: This story has been changed to reflect the correct rate DeKalb customers are to be charged in the third year of the agreement.

DeKALB – Electricity bills could rise by 55 percent this summer for residents who use the city-selected electricity provider.

During their meeting Monday, DeKalb aldermen approved a three-year agreement with Homefield Energy with rates at 7.237 cents a kilowatt hour for the first two years and 6.307 cents in the third year compared to the current rate of 4.64 cents. The new agreement takes effect July 1.

An average customer who uses 640 kilowatt hours a month would see their bill increase from $29.70 a month to $46.32 for the first two years and to $40.36 a month in the third year.

Officials still are expecting residents will save on their electricity bills when compared with ComEd rates. ComEd’s current rate is 6.04 cents, but is expected to rise to 7.5 cents in June, consultant Mike Mudge with Rock River Energy Services explained to the council. At 7.5 cents, an average monthly ComEd bill would be $48.

Mudge explained that rates from all suppliers are rising because of an increase in the capacity cost that suppliers pay to generators to assure there is enough power produced to meet demands. Some other DeKalb County municipalities, including Sycamore, Hinckley and Lee will review rates later this year.

First Ward Alderman David Jacobson cast the lone “no” vote against the contract.

“I’m worried we’re going to enter our residents into something and it might not be of value to them,” Jacobson said.

Residents can opt out of the program at any time, Mudge said. Mailers with information on how to do that will be sent to residents closer to June when ComEd publishes its rates. Those who already have an alternative energy supplier will not be enrolled automatically.

In 2012, city leaders approved a two-year contract with FirstEnergy Solutions after voters passed a referendum allowing city officials to negotiate a lower, wholesale rate on their behalf. About 8,200 customers are enrolled in the program, which has saved about $2.7 million communitywide.