Since March 1, 1991, electricity to meet all of Winnetka’s power and energy requirements has been provided pursuant to contracts between the Village the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA). On the Village’s behalf, IMEA acquires power and energy by:
Generating it at an IMEA-owned plant;
Purchasing it from other entities;
Utilizing the capabilities of the Village’s Electric Plant’s or of other members’ plants.
This blend of resources assures an economical cost of wholesale power. By contract, the output capacity of the Village’s Electric Plant is dedicated to the IMEA. Upon request by the Agency, the Village will generate electricity that is used by the Agency to meet electrical demand or offset the cost of higher priced wholesale power from another source. In return for the Agency’s right to use our plant’s capacity, the Village receives a credit on its wholesale power bill.
Even though the Village buys all its electricity from IMEA, it still owns and operates the electric plant. The capacity of the plant is approximately 31,500 kilowatts and is operated on a regular basis to exercise the equipment and keep the operators proficient. The plant is the third leg of a triad of electricity sources, the others being the distribution and transmission interconnections with ComEd. If necessary, the plant can be brought on line when all other utilities may be unable to serve any load.
IMEA is a non-profit, tax-exempt unit of local government that was formed under the Illinois Joint Municipal Power Act of 1983 and began operation in 1984. The IMEA was created by the municipal electric systems of Illinois as a result of their desire to control their own power supply. IMEA’s mission statement is to “provide member communities with quality services in a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally-sensitive manner.” The Agency is currently made up of 32 municipalities, each of which owns and operates its own electric utility and purchase wholesale power. Winnetka’s current IMEA contract extends through 2035.
Starting in 2012, some Illinois voters saw referendums on local ballots to decide whether to allow municipalities to purchase electricity from a supplier other than ComEd. This approach, known as municipal electric aggregation, allows communities to purchase electricity directly from an alternative electric supplier, at what is suggested will be a lower rate than currently offered by ComEd.
Electric Aggregation is not an option for Winnetka residents, since the Village owns and operates its own electric system and purchases wholesale power from IMEA.
Power supplied to member communities is sourced from IMEA- or member-owned fossil fueled generation (60%), long-term cost based contracts (19%) and short term market purchases (21%). Approximately 5% of the members’ energy requirements are provided from a long term contract for wind energy generated in Lee and Dekalb counties. With the recent media attention on municipal aggregation and electric rates, it is important to note that the Village maintains local control of our electric system operation and rates. In the recent past, the Village benefited from this system, as it resulted in noticeably more reliable electric service to our customers when compared to many of our neighbors.