Mar
08

Learn About Municipal Aggregation Before Election

March 08, 2012

The Illinois General Primary Election is less than two weeks away. I’m sure you know for whom you are voting, but do you know how?

keyboard with a red VOTE where the enter key would be and a smaller box that says vote on top.After decades of monopolizing the electrical industry, utility companies ComEd and Ameren now have competitors, which means Illinois and Chicago real estate residents have a choice in which company supplies their electricity.

According to a 2007 state law, local governments can negotiate electricity prices with unregulated power companies on behalf of residents. At least 276 communities across Illinois will have a referendum on the March 20 ballot asking residents if they want to launch that process, called municipal aggregation.

Municipal aggregation is based on the idea of strength in numbers. The more residents that will use a company for its electrical supply, the better the rate a local government could negotiate.

“With the introduction of electricity choice in Illinois, being a customer has suddenly become a lot more complicated,” said Citizens Utility Board (CUB) Executive Director David Kolata. “Electricity choice must be an informed choice. Whether you vote for or against municipal aggregation, you should be armed with the facts and that’s why CUB created its Guide to Municipal Aggregation.”

Here are some key facts that CUB feels voters should know before voting:

*It can’t hurt: Even if you vote for municipal aggregation and your community passes a referendum in favor of it, you do not have to participate in the program.

*It can’t stop hikes: Even if your community does go with a different company for its supply of electricity, ComEd or Ameren is still your utility company and the one charging you for the delivery of the power to your home. If the ICC grants utility increases, it’s that delivery charge that goes up.

*It can’t hurt to read: If your community launches an aggregation program, read the fine print of the proposed offer. Find out if you are locked into a rate for a certain length of time, if there is an exit fee to get out early and if you are automatically renewed at the end of your contract, which may not be the best deal for you at that time.

If your community passes an aggregation referendum, find out exactly what the power supplier is offering and how it compares to your current company.

CUB’s Guide to Municipal Electricity Aggregation includes a “price to compare” guide for consumers. Visit citizensutilityboard.org for more information, and get ready to vote on March 20.

Categories: Education

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