WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Electric Aggregation on Many Illinois Ballots This Fall

Oct 29, 2012

Voters in more than 200 communities will decide this fall whether to approve electric aggregation. Those towns in western Illinois include Galesburg, Rushville, Carthage, Mt Sterling, Beardstown, Virginia, Vermont, Knoxville, Quincy, Mendon, Columbus, and Coatsburg.

“The idea behind electric aggregation is the theory – as in other consumer purchases – that if you can combine your purchasing power with others that theoretically you should be able to get a better rate for it,” said Doug Scott, Chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission.

He said residents who don’t want to take part in aggregation can opt out of the program.

Scott said aggregation is still fairly new in Illinois, yet around 250 communities have already approved it. He said consumers have seen their electric costs drop anywhere from 20% to 40%, though the long-term impact of aggregation is still being evaluated.

“These communities are all going through their first contract now with an alternative supplier. Let’s see what happens when we get into the second contracts and down the road. But so far it’s been very positive,” Scott said.

He said many towns are hiring consultants to help them with the process. He said the cost for the service varies depending on the size of the community.

Scott said the ICC offers more information about aggregation and electric choice at its “Plug In Illinois” website.