Update/posted at 1 p.m. Jan. 2:
The city of Joliet has provided this additional information about the electrical aggregation program and residents' ability to sign up online rather than doing so by mail:
"If you have not yet received your official offer letter, you will be receiving your letter during the next few days in your regular mail. The letter will have the City seal on it so you can distinguish this letter from other electric service solicitation letters. Please read the letter as soon as you receive it or you may visit www.fes.com/joliet for a direct online opt in opportunity, this is a specific Joliet only offer web link destination, so no offer code is required on the form, just fill it out and continue through the process and await your email confirmation.
"There are three ways to enroll in the program: by mail, by phone, or online. Mail the reply portion of the letter to FirstEnergy by Jan. 15 to take advantage of lower electric rates, or call 1-877-635-0494, or go online to www.fes.com/joliet."
Original story/posted at 11:59 p.m. Jan. 1:
Joliet residents and small business owners will be receiving a letter this week that will allow them to join an electrical aggregation program that will trim about 33 percent off electric bills.
Anyone who wants to participate needs to "opt in" to the service by dropping ComEd as their electricity provider. There will be no change in service, and the utility company will continue to handle all bills and service calls.
Several municipalities in Will County and the Chicago suburbs have already taken advantage of the lower prices that can be achieved when large groups of customers negotiate contracts for electric service from companies with lower rates than ComEd.
Below is a news release from Joliet City Manager Tom Thanas explaining the program and letter:
Electric Aggregation is a program that allows local governments to bundle or “aggregate” residential and small commercial retail electric accounts and seek bids for a most cost effective supply of power.
Currently, ComEd customers receive electricity at a price set each year by the Illinois Power Agency, a governmental body of the State of Illinois that secures electricity on the wholesale market on behalf of ComEd. By bundling residential and small commercial accounts, municipalities can go out into the open market to seek a lower rate for electrical supply for its residents.
The city of Joliet has partnered with the Will County Governmental League to join 21 other municipalities in purchasing electricity from FirstEnergy Solutions at a rate that will be about 33% less than the current rate assessed residential and small business customers. Details of the power purchase agreement will be in a letter being sent out to all Joliet residents.
Not all ComEd accounts will be eligible for participation in the City of Joliet Electric Aggregation Program. Certain restrictions may apply, particularly for business accounts. Non-residential customers must have an annual electrical demand not exceeding 15,000 kilowatt hours to be eligible. All customers must be located within boundaries of the City of Joliet to be eligible to participate in the discount buying program.
You will be receiving your letter during the next few days in your regular mail. The letter will have the City seal on it so you can distinguish this letter from other electric service solicitation letters. Please read the letter as soon as you receive it.
Switching from ComEd to another electricity supplier will be completely seamless and there will be no service interruption. The letter from the City of Joliet, on official City letterhead, will explain to eligible customers how to join the “opt in” buying program. ComEd will continue to be responsible for the delivery of electricity, maintenance, and will respond to power outages.
“Bills will continue to come from ComEd with FirstEnergy being listed as the supplier on the bill,” said City Manager Tom Thanas.
Act fast ... the offer is only good until January 15, 2013. Mail the reply portion of the letter to FirstEnergy by January 15th to take advantage of lower electric rates, or call 1-877-635-0494. Have your most current electric bill handy if you call. You will need your ComEd account number to respond either by phone or by mail.
The Mayor and City Council are excited to bring this opportunity to its residents. A copy of the letter being sent by FirstEnergy Solutions will be made available on the City’s website www.cityofjoliet.info.