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Village Vision News

Consultant to assist with possible electrical aggregation

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Village Administrator Mike Miller has selected Good Energy, L.P. as the independent consultant for the electrical aggregation issue that will be put before Forsyth voters Nov. 6. In the election, voters will decide if they want to consolidate their electric rates to get a lower rate. Miller had requested that a consultant be hired to streamline communication and un- derstanding of electrical aggregation, and the Board unanimously approved his request Aug. 20.

“Good Energy has been the most successful to date in aggregating multiple municipalities together,” Miller said. He said the business model used by Good Energy is based on the belief that the more favorable rates come based on the larger the pool of consumers you have, combined with multiple bidders (retail electric sup- pliers) for those customers. He said he feels the logical course of action is to be in a larger pool of cus- tomers.

Miller told trustees that 45 to 50 communities have signed up for electrical aggregation with the vast majority using a consultant.

“There is a significant amount of work to be done as we get into the process,” he said.

The issue of cost for the consultant’s work was raised by trustee Eric Morr who wanted to know who would pay for the service. Miller said no upfront charge would be assessed.

“Even if [aggregation] passes, in- dividuals can opt out of the program,” Morr advised residents who receive his email updates after Board meet- ings. Likewise, trustee Steve Hubbard pointed out that the Village will not lose any money if aggregation fails to pass during the election.

The Board had previously voted 4-2 on Aug. 6 to put the issue of elec- trical aggregation for the Village to a public referendum. Electrical aggregation would al- low the Village to negotiate with elec- tricity suppliers for lower power rates for individuals and small businesses, Miller said. Three suppliers have ap- proached the Village with their plans. He noted that electricity rates in the Ameren Illinois service territory are significantly higher than the whole- sale electricity rates that come from aggregate bidding. Miller projected a personal savings of $20 per month with aggregation and said it is impor- tant for every resident to evaluate the issue for themselves by visiting the websites at Ameren Illinois and the Il- linois Commerce Commission.

During the Aug. 6 vote, trustees Marilyn Johnson and Bob Rasho voted against putting the issue to a referendum. Both expressed their op- position to what they labeled as gov- ernment involvement in a matter that they believe should be handled by individuals themselves, and several audience members agreed, including Sid Audiffred of 5245 Yavapai Drive and Leo Morland of 765 Schroll Court. At that time, Miller dispelled Johnson’s concern for staff time and involvement in promoting the ag- gregation program by saying that it is “...almost a seamless process” with energy representatives handling the transition. Miller cautioned that the “...biggest risk we take is if we [don’t] do it now” since the rates are fairly low and that better pricing comes with more people and more volume.

Nearby municipalities, including Decatur and Mount Zion, recently voted to place similar referendums on the November ballot. Mayor Hap Gilbert said electrical aggregation is a good opportunity for the Village to save its residents money. He referred to 51 other communities who have endorsed the concept. “They have saved money ... they’re happy with [ aggregation],” he said.

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