People on WSIU Radio
Mon October 22, 2012
Several Communities to Ask About Electricity Supplier on Ballot
Illinois voters in more than two dozen southern Illinois communities will decide if they want their local government to go shopping for better electricity prices.
It’s known as "municipal aggregation" and it’s catching on. Voters in Carbondale, Benton, Johnston City, Cobden, Effingham, Marion, West Frankfort, Olney, and several others will be able to make their choice in the upcoming election. Already, about 250 cities, townships and counties have gone that route. Now, it's on the ballot in another 200 places across the state. Chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, Doug Scott, says at first there were just a few communities that decided to put the initiative on the ballot and opt for a referendum. Scott says when people started to see what prices were being generated, and how much folks were saving, then you it started expanding to more municipalities. Scott says when communities have left Ameren and Commonwealth Edison for alternative suppliers; they've seen prices drop as much as 40 percent or more. Governments harness the collective buying power of residents to negotiate deals. But they need voters' permission first and that's why so many voters will see it on their ballot this fall. Scott says while many voters can take advantage of electric choice, those served by a city-owned utility or a co-operative are out of luck. More information is available on line from Plug in Illinois