Taylorsville, Illinois voters approved the move to electricity aggregation last fall – saving these Ameren Illinois residential customers an average of 23.3% on their electricity rates. Yet, some residents who still don’t understand electric aggregation have become confused and concerned.
“It scares some people,” Mayor Greg Brotherton was quoted saying when discussing the influx of calls from concerned customers. Basic concerns center on customers not knowing if they are supposed to do anything themselves as well as some distrust in future savings.
The mayor and other officials have been assuring customers that there is nothing to be done on their part. First Energy is working directly with Ameren Illinois to supply the electricity, and customers will still receive bills from this utility. There are no meter changes or any other installations on the physical properties of customers. The only changes that customers will see are different rates on their electricity bills.
Customers, both residential and small businesses, are certainly able to opt out of the aggregation program if they choose to do so. In fact, there may be reason to do so in the near future.
Reason for Concern: Ameren’s Rates to Drop in June?
The committee responsible for choosing the electric supplier opted for First Energy Corp. of Ohio for a consecutive 36-month electric aggregation supply agreement. For the duration of the agreement, First Energy will supply electricity to residential and small business customers at a rate of 4.194 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to Ameren’s current 5.467 cents per kWh.
Ameren Illinois’s current rates (aka Price-to-Compare) are not set to change from 5.467 cents/kWh until June 2013. While customers are guaranteed to save on their bills until through May, there’s no way to guarantee savings for the duration of the 36-month agreement.
Long (36-month) contracts have risks, no matter where the electric supply comes from. Dave Kolata, Executive Director of the consumer group, Citizens Utility Board in Chicago, warns that Ameren Illinois (as well as ComEd) are likely to procure wholesale energy in the Spring that is below the cost of what they are currently paying. In other words, Ameren Illinois’s Price-to-Compare is significantly likely to drop in June, and there are no guarantees that First Energy’s price will be below that of Ameren’s.
And of course, if Ameren’s rates drop, so will prices from various retail electricity providers in the area. Electricity aggregation has become more and more popular in Illinois, with more than 460 cities and counties opting for aggregation. Now is the time for Illinois customers to educate themselves on their options in order to find the most savings.