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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
REGARDING THE NOVEMBER 6, 2012 REFERENDUM AND ELECTRICAL AGGREGATION
Q: IS IT POSSIBLE FOR THE CITY TO ACQUIRE ELECTRICITY ON BEHALF OF THE CITY’ S RESIDENTS AND SMALL
BUSINESSES AT POTENTIALLY LOWER COSTS?
Yes. Under a new state law, municipalities are now qualified to potentially receive proposals from electric suppliers on behalf of their residents and small businesses under a single contract. If the rates are lower than Ameren’s, residential and small business accounts within the City’s corporate limits not already choosing power from an alternative supplier would acquire electricity from the new supplier, saving residents and businesses money on the power supply portion of their monthly electric bills. This process is called municipal electric aggregation.
Q: WHY HAS A REFERENDUM BALLOT ISSUE BEEN SCHEDULED?
Under the new law, the City can seek voter direction on whether or not to pursue electric power supply proposals for residents and small businesses under a single contract. The City can only pursue the process of electric aggregation on behalf of the City’s residents and small businesses if voters approve the measure via referendum.
Q: WHAT WILL THE REFERENDUM ASK?
A November 6, 2012 referendum ballot question will ask voters if the City should have the authority to seek competitive pricing proposals for electric supply under a single contract. Specifically, it asks the following:
“Shall the City of have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”
Q: WHY ASK THE CITY VOTERS IF THEY WANT TO GIVE THIS AUTHORITY?
To potentially save residents and businesses money by taking advantage of the new state law. If the process results in lower electricity costs, residents and small businesses would benefit financially from the savings.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE CITY VOTERS APPROVE THE REFERENDUM?
If voters approve the referendum question, the City would begin the process of developing documents and seeking proposals from electric suppliers. If resulting prices are lower than current prices from Ameren, the City Council would accept the best proposal. Since electric prices would be lower, residents’ and small businesses’ monthly electric bills would go down.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE CITY VOTERS DO NOT APPROVE THE REFERENDUM?
If voters don’t approve the referendum question, residents’ and small businesses’ power supply will continue to be provided by Ameren, with the exception of those residents and small businesses that have chosen to “opt in” to a program with an alternative power supplier on their own. These “opt in” programs will also continue to be available to City customers on an individual basis.
Q: ASSUMING THE REFERENDUM IS APPROVED, WHAT IF I DON’ T WANT TO PARTICIPATE?
Following completion of the process and the awarding of a contract, you and all other electric customers will be contacted by the new electricity supplier selected by the City. (You will also be contacted by Ameren). You may “opt out” of the program and stay with your current electric supplier (Ameren or another alternative supplier) if you wish.
Q: WHAT IF PRICES FROM POWER SUPPLY PROPOSALS ARE HIGHER?
The City Council would not accept any proposals, and the account for your power supply would stay with Ameren.
Q: WHAT TYPE OF RATE SAVINGS MIGHT BE EXPECTED UNDER AN ELECTRIC AGGREGATION PROGRAM?
Based on current market conditions, it is estimated that program participants will be able to realize in the range of 20%-25% savings on their electric bills.
Q: IF POWER IS PURCHASED FROM A SUPPLIER OTHER THAN AMEREN, WHO WOULD I CALL IN CASE OF POWER OUTAGES AND GETTING SERVICE RESTORED?
By law, Ameren would continue to handle all service issues, including any emergency repairs.
Q: WOULD I GET A SEPARATE BILL FROM THE NEW SUPPLIER?
No. You would still be a customer of Ameren’s delivery system while receiving your power from another supplier. Ameren would continue to send you your monthly bill, just as it does now.
Q: CAN I HAVE INPUT ON THE ELECTRIC AGGREGATION PLAN AND PROPOSED PROCESS, ASSUMING THE
REFERENDUM IS APPROVED?
Yes. The City will hold at least two public hearings to give you and other residents the opportunity to provide input on the plan prior to requesting proposals for the City’s power supply on the open market.
Q: IF THE REFERENDUM PASSES, IS THE CITY OBLIGATED TO SWITCH SUPPLIERS?
No. Passage of the referendum question merely gives the City the right to seek competitive proposals in the open market. If these proposals are not lower, no change in your power supplier would be made. Your power supply would remain with Ameren.
Q: WHEN WOULD THE FIRST SOLICITATION OF PROPOSALS TAKE PLACE IF THE NOVEMBER 6TH REFERENDUM IS APPROVED?
If the referendum passes, and the electric aggregation plan and solicitation process is approved, the first solicitation of proposals would take place in January 2013, at the very earliest. Potential savings from accepting proposals for power supply on the open market would likely be seen on electric bills in early spring 2013, and certainly before higher summer prices take place.
Any additional questions please feel free to contact:
550 W. JACKSON BLVD. SUITE 777
CHICAGO, IL 60661
P: (773) 278-6906
F: (888) 358-2407