Power aggregation has led to energy savings for participating commmunities, but the long-term prospects are unclear.
By Eric Stock
HEYWORTH - The pool of Central Illinois communities buying in on lower electricity rates could get a little bigger after election day.
Normal, Heyworth and Randolph Township all have a referendum on the Nov. 6th ballot, for Normal its the second time, asking voters to support power aggregation, which has enabled some communities to save up to 30 percent on power.
Heyworth Administrator Geoff Dodds said the village has been doing its own power buy over the last three years through an Ameren Corp. subsidiary that's saved the village as much as $100,000 on energy costs for its facilities.
Should voters approve the referendum, the village would seek a broader deal to incorporate all of its residents in hopes of securing a similar deal.
"We don't know if (the savings would be the same), because we already have a discount, but we think the community as a whole and once our contract expires - which I believe should be shortly, we will particpate just like everyone else is and get the same type of discount if not every better than what we have right now," Dodds said.
Dodds says there is some concern about rates long term, but adds that residents could opt out. Ameren will no longer be bound by some contracts at higher-than-market prices after June 2013.
Voters in Normal and Bloomington rejected power aggregation last spring over concerns about the long-term rates. Normal town officials brought the proposal back, suggesting they didn't sufficiently educate the public about the plan's benefits before the first vote.
Eric Stock can be reached at email@example.com.