Frequently Asked Questions
What is electric aggregation?
On August 10, 2009, Governor Quinn signed into law Public Act 96-176. This allows municipalities to arrange for the provision of electricity to residential and small commercial retail customers by alternative electric suppliers (suppliers other than Ameren Illinois). Under the new law, the City may seek bids for the provision of aggregate electricity supply in order to secure a supply rate lower than the standard supply rate offered by Ameren Illinois.
Electric aggregation combines the retail electric loads of customers to create massive purchasing power. The City of Collinsville's households and small commercial retail customers will be bundled with in excess of 150,000 households from municipalities and counties across Central and Southern Illinois (all group members will be available on this site as of September 1st). Through this leveraged buying power a single household in the group can secure a low electric rate close to that of the heaviest industrial user.
What is the referendum on the November 6, 2012 election ballot?
As indicated above, voters will be asked whether the City of Collinsville should have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such a program.
Should the referendum pass, the City will then seek competitive bids utilizing the Good Energy Central and Southern Illinois Buying Group 2 (GECSI2) to obtain bids that would secure a lower electrical rate for residents and small commercial users. Once bids are received and it is determined that savings can be realized for consumers, a contract will be negotiated to lock in the rate. Once the contract is approved by the City Council, the City will work with Ameren Illinois and the new provider to ensure that all individuals eligible for the new rate are automatically transferred to the new supplier unless they have previously opted out.
If the referendum does not pass, the City Council will still be able to seek competitive bids under Illinois law, but all of the City’s residential and small commercial accounts will not automatically be moved over to the new supplier. Residents and small commercial owners wishing to take advantage of the City's rate will have to "opt-in" to the program on an individual basis, should this scenario occur.
Will there be a public information process?
The City, with assistance from Good Energy, will provide information regarding both the referendum and the bidding process (if the referendum is approved), through its normal communication outlets including here on the City's website, Cable Access Channel and Facebook page. There will also be an informational hearing on the referendum in the days prior to the vote.
In addition, if the referendum is approved the City will host two public hearings as a component of the bidding process.
What is "Good Energy"?
Good Energy is an energy consultant that works with municipalities and provides guidance through the aggregation process. Such services are needed by the City, as Good Energy will market the program; perform a community awareness campaign; coordinate efforts with the Illinois Commerce Commission; provide support for required public hearings; develop bidding documents; prepare a Plan of Operation and Governance; negotiate fees with winning suppliers; and provide on-going daily monitoring of the program once in place. Most municipalities do not have the resources (staff time and expertise) required to manage an undertaking of this magnitude.
I have received calls from individuals claiming they "want to save me money on my electric bill". Some have even stated that they are "working with the City". Is this legitimate?
We have received reports that a number of electricity suppliers/providers have been soliciting individual customers regarding opting out of Ameren Illinois’s rate on an individual basis. Some of these solicitations are legitimate, and households may actually realize a savings.
Good Energy is an energy consultant, and the only organization working with the City of Collinsville. They will NOT be sending any electricity offers in the mail directly to residents or soliciting customers through telephone calls. Good Energy will only be sending mailings to residents as part of an education campaign to explain how the municipal aggregation process works.
For a listing of alternative energy suppliers certified by the Illinois Commerce Commission that are registered with Ameren Illinois to serve residential customers in Ameren Illinois's territories, please visit http://pluginillinois.org/Suppliers.aspx
I have a small business – does this impact me?
It may. The Act designates that residents and small commercial retailers are eligible for aggregation. Small commercial customers have been defined as those which use less than 15,000 kWh of power per year. All residential customers would be eligible unless they choose to opt out of the City’s bidding process.
How much could I potentially save if the referendum passes and the City chooses an alternative supplier?
Given current market conditions, electricity supply cost savings are forecast to be approximately $125 - $150 per household per year.
What if my power goes out – who would I call?
Ameren Illinois is responsible for ensuring that electricity flows through its distribution network to all homes and businesses in Collinsville. Aggregation would not change how Ameren Illinois responds to outages. Outages should still be reported to 1-800-755-5000.
Will there be any difference or disruption in service because of aggregation?
No, there will be no disruption in service. The only difference will be that the energy received will be from a different supplier at lower, more stable rates. Ameren Illinois would continue to deliver energy to homes and businesses. Residents and businesses would also continue to receive an Ameren Illinois bill. Any outages or requests for service would continue to be directed to Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000.
What component of the electrical bill will aggregation affect?
Aggregation addresses only one of the three components of an electricity bill. The three components are supply (where the power comes from), transmission (getting the supply from its point of origin or from the high voltage grid), and distribution (getting the electricity from the substation to the consumer’s meter). Aggregation concerns only the supply component, which is typically at least 50% of the electricity bill. The transmission and distribution parts of the bill will be unaffected by aggregation.
What if I have already switched to a new supplier/provider prior to the City seeking bids?
As mentioned earlier, a number of electricity suppliers/providers have been soliciting individual customers regarding opting out of Ameren Illinois’s rate on an individual basis. If you already have done so, you have likely been locked into a rate and into a contract with that provider. Should the City bidding process realize lower rates than you have through your own provider, you will still be able to opt-in to the City’s competitively bid rate, but only within the structure of the existing contract with your provider.
In addition, unlike those users who are still receiving their electricity supply from Ameren Illinois, you will not be automatically switched over to the new provider. You may also be subject to early termination fees or other restrictions with your current provider. You should check with your provider to better understand any restrictions or policies that might apply.
What if residents/small businesses don’t want to participate in the City’s rate?
Residents and small businesses may “opt-out” of the program if the referendum is passed. Before the aggregation program begins, all residents and small businesses would receive an opt-out notice in the mail and be given a date by which they must return the opt-out notice or call a telephone number to request to be opted-out of the program.
Residents and small businesses currently using a third party supplier or residents and small businesses moving to Collinsville from outside the community would not be automatically included; they would have to “opt-in”.
What timeline is in place for the City's aggregation process?
*-These are tentatively projected dates which may vary slightly.
Who can I contact for more information?
For further information call the "Good Energy CSI" Hotline at 618-465-6030 or visit Good Energy's dedicated website at www.munienergychoice.com where you may watch a promotional video and TV interviews, listen to radio interviews, review FAQs, view copies of mailings, follow along with updates and much more.