residents passed a referendum Tuesday that will allow the village to negotiate better electricity prices for them. But voters living in unincorporated Will County shot down their ballot measure on the same issue.
The village's electricity aggregation referendum passed by a 58.6 percent margin (1,404 votes), while the county ballot item was defeated by a 59.49 percent margin (8,707 votes).
"From the very beginning the choice was up to the voters," Will County Board spokesman Nate Brown said Tuesday night. "We respect their decision for the board to work on other issues besides electrical aggregation. The board will continue to look for other ways to put money back in the pockets of Will County residents."
A state law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2010, their residents into one negotiating body with the goal of getting a bulk discount. ComEd currently supplies Lemont’s electricity.
Now that the referendum has passed, village officials will be holding more public meetings to inform residents about what electricity aggregation will entail. Officials will be seeking bids from power companies to try get a better rate for citizens and small businesses.
ComEd would still be in charge of billing and delivering electricity to homes, but that power could come from a different supplier. And although the measure passed, residents can still opt out and purchase their electricity from the supplier of their choice.
Despite education efforts by the village and the county, which included forums, brochures and a video with Will County officials and mayors, some voters remained unaware of the referendum and what it entails.
"I didn't know about it until I saw it on the ballot (when I voted)," said Joanne Ketsios, of Frankfort. "It was a shock to me."
Residents and business owners can already and still will be able to find their own cheaper rates. The Citizens Utility Board and the Illinois Commerce Commission offer resources for residents to do this online.