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Lower electric rates: Voters could help scores of suburbs cut electric bills

subdivision in Hoffman Estates backs up to a Com-Ed Substation on Wednesday, March 7, 2012.  (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

subdivision in Hoffman Estates backs up to a Com-Ed Substation on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

Rare is the ballot-box initiative that could actually save taxpayers money.

But in Tuesday’s primary election, voters in nearly 300 communities and counties across Illinois will be asked to authorize their local leaders to buy electricity in bulk from suppliers other than Commonwealth Edison Co. and downstate utility company Ameren Illinois.

That, by the most conservative estimate, could shave $10 to $12 from the average monthly power bill, at least in the first year.

“Everybody asks, ‘What’s the catch? It sounds too good to be true,’” said David Hoover, a consultant who brokers electricity deals. “The only catch is that the municipality has to take a little time and effort to administer the program. But the residents win.”

Read more on chicagotribune.com.

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