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Municipal aggregation customers could save money on electric bill

SESSER (WSIL) — There’s a chance you may be able to save on your electricity bill.

Several years ago, Illinois allowed local governments to negotiate electricity rates on behalf of their residents. Typically, the rate other companies offered was lower than Ameren’s, but this year that’s not the case.

Sesser mayor Jason Ashmore was elected in 2013, after municipal aggregation took effect.

"So basically, a whole bunch of towns sign up with different power consultants and what you do is, they go around, shop around and get bids and try to get the lowest rate that they can."

He says when it came to negotiating electricity rates with the town’s provider, Homefield Energy, the rates were always lower than what Ameren offered until just recently.

"And we had this issue about two years ago where the price went lower than the company we had at that time and they were able to match it because it was still keeping customers in their portfolio."

Ameren delivers electricity to most homes in southern Illinois, so that’s who the bill comes from. The energy supplier, in this case Homefield Energy, actually provides the electricity.

This year, Ameren’s rate is more than a cent cheaper per kilowatt hour, meaning people could save several dollars each month if they opt out of the town’s municipal aggregation agreement.

Ashmore said Sesser isn’t alone.

"This year, all the other municipalities are asking their citizens to opt out also and go back with Ameren," Ashmore said.

People have to call their energy provider, which is Homefield Energy if you live in Sesser, and tell them you want to opt out.

The number to call Homefield Energy is (866) 964-1262.

You can either go back to Ameren or pick a different provider.

Ashmore said he has heard from several residents that salesmen for other providers are going door-to-door.

"They’re almost all legit, but what’s in the fine print is what you have to be careful for," Ashmore said. "They may offer you a $50 gift card or a month free, but their rates are usually double every month from then on that you sign a contract with, so it ends up costing you a lot more money in the long run."

There are some rules to opting out: You have 60 days to opt back in and if you miss that window, you have to stay with Ameren for 10 months.

Sesser’s consultant, Affordable Gas and Electric, said it’s working with Homefield to offer a lower rate, but for most of the communities in southern Illinois, opting out is the cheaper option.

For more information on how to opt out, contact your city hall.

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