O'Fallon Progress

How to determine if municipal electric aggregation is right for you

Herb Roach
Herb Roach

This week, I want to take a few moments to explain municipal aggregation. Illinois law allows municipalities and counties to negotiate the purchase of electricity on behalf of residential and small business utility customers living within their borders. O’Fallon is part of a group of over 110 municipalities (with over 850,000 residents throughout the state of Illinois) that negotiated and signed a 36-month contract in June 2016 with Homefield Energy at a rate of $0.0595 per kWh.

Twice a year, Ameren releases their new rates, sometimes these rates increase, sometimes they decrease. Municipal aggregation protects our residents from these rate changes because the contract rate ($0.0595 per kWh) through Homefield Energy remains constant for the entire duration of the 36-month contract.

Ameren’s most recent non-summer (October 2016 to May 2017) rate charged was $0.06519 per kWh. Starting on June 1, 2017, Ameren’s rate will decrease to $0.0536 per kWh. This new rate is slightly below the negotiated rate through Homefield Energy, which is typically the case during the summer months. This lower rate will last until Ameren switches back to their non-summer rate in October 2017.

To determine if municipal aggregation is right for you and your family, you must calculate the savings over the whole year. While Ameren’s summer rate is lower than the municipal aggregation rate, their non-summer rate (October 2017 – May 2018) will be $0.0612 per kWh. During these eight months, the negotiated rate through Homefield is lower than the Ameren rate, and this is where O’Fallon families can save money on their utility bills, by participating in the program.

Since the program’s inception, the average residential customer in O’Fallon has saved $315 by participating in the aggregation program. With over 11,000 housing units in O’Fallon, that means that the total community savings with the aggregation program is around $3 million.

In our community’s aggregation program, residents are not required to sign a contract and will not be contacted by a salesperson. If you are approached by an electric marketer, please be aware that it is not part of O’Fallon’s electrical aggregation program.

The city’s program rates do not have variable, hidden or “pass-through” charges. If you are solicited by an electrical marketer, please be certain to review all contact terms, ask about additional charges and do not feel pressured to take action right away.

There is no risk for the residents and no contracts, but I still feel that it is important to have a choice in whether to participate or not, so if you ever feel that this is not a good choice, you can switch back to Ameren or any other vendor at any time by contacting Homefield Energy at 866-694-1262.

But, before you choose to opt-out, please note that customers leaving the aggregation program and returning to Ameren for their summer rates are subject to a contract lock period and the utility will not allow you to re-join the O’Fallon Municipal Aggregation Program for 12-months.

Also, if you are a new resident of O’Fallon and are setting up electrical service for the first time at your new residence, you can opt-in to the program by calling 866.694.1262.

If you have questions about the Municipal Aggregation program, go to dynegy.com or call Sandy Evans, O’Fallon finance director at 618-624-4500, ext. 8723.

As residents of O’Fallon, you should always be able to reach out to your elected officials and ask questions about what is happening in O’Fallon. Having open communications is important to me and something I care very deeply about. Thank you for reading, and please remember, my door is always open.