Council to vote on putting electric aggregation on ballot

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The Vandalia City Council is expected to consider at its next meeting that could possibly lead to lower electrical rates for city residents.
The council is scheduled to vote at its Jan. 7 meeting on an ordinance amendment that would putan electric aggregation referendum before voters.
If the council approves that amendment, residents will vote on the electric aggregation issue at the April 9 consolidated election.
City officials discussed the issue at last week’s meeting after a presentation of electric aggregation by Steve Bryant of Good Energy.
Bryant told officials that municipal opt-out aggregation, through the Illinois Power Agency Act, is a program that allows municipalities the option of creating large buying groups of residential and small commercial retail electricity accounts.
These groups, he explained, can seek bids for cheaper electrical rates.
Good Energy, he said, currently represents about 23,000 households in more than 60 communities, including Trenton, New Baden, Bethalto, Alton and Godfrey, and the counties of Tazewell, Stark, Mason, Marshall and Peoria.
Bryant said that more than 110 municipalities will be participating in the overall aggregation.
Communities involved in the first round of aggregation a seeing a savings in their electrical rates of a little less than 30 percent, he said.
How it works, Bryant said, is that a municipality puts on the ballot a referendum asking residents to give the municipality the authority to create an aggregation program.
Prior to the public vote, two public hearings will be held to explain and summarize the issue to residents, he said.
If the referendum passes, the municipality creates an aggregation plan that includes the objectives, procedures and process for the program, he said.
Good Energy, Bryant said, then seeks bids from energy suppliers to obtain competitive electricity rates.
Residents who are part of the program will see no change in the appearance of their Ameren bills “other than a price reduction,” he said.
The program is open to all residents and to small businesses whose demand is less than 15,000 kWh, he said.
Residents may choose not to participate in the program, and it’s not open to those who are already buying power from a supplier and those who have special rates, he said.
The program, Bryant said, does not affect various billing plans, including PIP (Percentage of Income Payment), Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, Budget Billing and Energy Efficiency.