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Evanston residents who do not wish to participate in the City’s electricity aggregation program have only about a week to notify the City that they wish to opt out of the program. All eligible residents and small businesses are automatically enrolled in the program. Only those who wish to opt out need take action by June 15.

Those who remain in the program are likely to see savings of up to 20 percent on the supply section of their electric bills, City officials say. Constellation NewEnergy, Inc., the City’s chosen supplier, has guaranteed participants a rate of 4.797¢/kWh through June, 2013.

Letters explaining the program and the opt-out process were mailed to residents beginning June 2; the aggregation program begins July 1.

Residents have four different ways to notify the City they wish to opt out of the program:

• Returning the completed Opt-Out form in the pre-addressed stamped envelope they received

• Faxing the completed Opt-Out form 1-866-422-6233

• Calling Constellation Energy at 1-800-718-1493

• Visiting home.constellation.com/optout

A second opportunity to opt out will be afforded only to those who do not opt out, by way of rescission. Once residents receive a confirmation letter, they have 10 days from the date of the postmark to rescind their choice to participate. Instructions for rescinding the decision to participate will be included in the confirmation letter.

In the March 20 primary election, residents approved the aggregation program, under which the City would contract with an alternate retail electricity supplier (ARES) to purchase electricity in bulk from a supplier with the most competitive and responsive price. A few weeks later, City Council voted to purchase “green” energy – that is, energy certified as produced from sustainable sources (renewable energy credits, or RECs).

Electric bills will still come from Commonwealth Edison, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation. Since ComEd owns the power lines through which the electricity is distributed, participants will still see a charge for distribution from ComEd on their bills. Transmission (distribution) charges, taxes and other fees will be about the same for participants and those who opt out. The savings will be in the purchase of the electricity itself.

While the Illinois Commerce Commission regulates the charges for transmission, it does not regulate the price of energy. Constellation NewEnergy is also a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, but it is a separate company from ComEd. The fine print in the opt-out materials includes the recommendation to “review the details of the offer as further defined in the enclosed Terms and Conditions and FAQ inserts. Constellation NewEnergy, Inc. is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation. Constellation NewEnergy is not the same company as ComEd. The prices of Constellation NewEnergy are not regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission. You do not have to buy Constellation NewEnergy electricity or any other product in order to receive the same quality regulated service from ComEd.”