Voters in Bloomington-Normal said 'no' to electricty aggregation in the March Primary. (Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user Dendroica cerulea)
By Jim Anderson
CHICAGO - Electricity aggregation is on the ballot in 90 places around Illinois, from Albers to Wyanet.
Seven Central Illinois communities are included in that: Normal, Heyworth, Randolph Township in McLean County, Reddick, Paxton, Elkhart and Tremont.
If voters approve, these 90 counties and cities would present themselves as a group to an electricity supplier in hopes of getting a cheaper price. 300 Illinois communities have already approved of the measure.
Doug Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, said the alternative suppliers are, for now, cheaper than Ameren and Com Ed.
“The savings so far have been very good through choice and through aggregation. The question becomes, as you go forward, what do those economics look like when Com Ed and Ameren are able to better compete on the open market for power as well,” he said.
The savings that have been occasioned are typically 2-4 cents per kilowatt hour compared to the Ameren or Com Ed rate determined by the Illinois Power Agency.
The law has allowed residential and small business electricity customers to choose alternative suppliers since 2000, but only in recent years have the economics of electricity generation brought forth a panoply of suppliers to offer customers a choice.
Under municipal aggregation, a city will negotiate a deal with a supplier, and customers will get that deal unless they opt out and go with a different supplier. In all cases, Ameren or Com Ed still sends the bill, and Ameren or Com Ed still maintain and repair the system.