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Galesburg mayor: Energy aggregation saves residents millions

Galesburg Mayor Peter Schwartzman
Yuchen Wang
Tri States Public Radio
Galesburg Mayor Peter Schwartzman

Galesburg residents in the energy aggregation program pay 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to 9.4 cents paid on average by Ameren customers.

The city of Galesburg’s energy aggregation program has been established for ten years, but Mayor Peter Schwartzman said the last year has been especially successful for the program.

“Last summer, the ICC allowed Ameren and Comet to increase their rates, and those rates went up substantially, and in some cases they doubled. The residents of Galesburg were immune to those spikes. That's how I formulated my calculations for the money saved," said Schwartzman, who is also a professor of environmental studies at Knox College.

He said residents in the program have saved up to $5.5 million since last summer, compared to an estimated $1 million in savings during the first nine years of the program.

Galesburg residents in the program pay 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to 9.4 cents paid on average by Ameren customers. Since the summer of 2022, the program has saved Galesburg residents $360-426 per household.

Schwartzman said the city’s aggregation program started with a referendum in 2012.

“We had heard of aggregation being an option, and we understood at the time, we get a much better rate if we bid as a collective unit. We have 13,000 residences in Galesburg, and they have a lot of power and influence. So we wanted to put it into referendum," Schwartzman said

The ballot proposal narrowly won approval, allowing the city to begin the program.

The electricity generated in this program is renewable and provided by Homefield Energy.

Schartzman said more people joining the plan can help the community as a whole by allowing the city to bid more aggressively the next time to gain a better rate.

Schwartzman said those who have opted out of the program can rejoin by calling city hall.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story. TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Yuchen Wang is a computer science major at Knox College.