May 2012
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Aggregation opt-out letter a day late and candor short

On March 20, 2012, in the primary election a majority of citizens voted yes on a referendum question allowing corporate authorities to form a Municipal Opt-Out Electricity Aggregation. City Officials are happy to offer eligible residents and small businesses SAVINGS over Ameren Illinois (“Ameren”) rates by banding together all eligible electric service classes.

So begins the official notice I received Monday about the City’s electric aggregation opt-out program. I have been expecting this notice. But there are a couple of things that I didn’t expect:

  1. Less than 15 days to opt out. To opt out, you are required to return a form “before the deadline date of June 1, 2012.” In the Plan of Operation and Governance document received and filed by the City Council on April 10, it was stated that “there will be an Opt-Out Period of at least 15 days from the postmark date on the notice to postmark the return Opt-Out notice if they do not wish to participate in the Program.” At least 15 days, they said. So, what was the postmark on the letter? May 18. May 18 to June 1 is 14 days. Am I being nit-picky? Try paying your parking fine a day late and see how nit-picky the City is with you.
  2. No fee disclosure. The letter also avers that “you will not be charged a fee for partaking in this program.” However, the April 10 council communication states, “The program will also create a modest income source for the City of Peoria ($0.001/kWh).” Elsewhere, this is called “additional margin available to Peoria.” What is this if not a fee? I’m not necessarily saying this fee can’t be justified, but it is a fee, and should be disclosed as such.

5 comments to Aggregation opt-out letter a day late and candor short

  • checking for details

    i was trying to see if opting in or out was the best option. It appears that all things being equal we would save $10/month, but knowing that things were not going to be equal, hence the tax you mentioned has me troubled. It bothers me that this hidden tax was not disclosed during the refferendum, nor does it state anywhere what the other “fees”that are being charged by the company itself. The city is already taxing electricity and natural gas and to slip in another hidden one, well, speaks volumes to the integrity of the majority of this council.

  • Sterling

    I don’t know enough about the details either way, but is it possible the City’s 1/10th of a penny per kWh is paid by the energy supplier, not the consumer? Granted, the costs would be passed along to the consumer anyway, but it wouldn’t be a direct fee to residents.

    I do agree with CJ that 14 days seems like a pretty tight window to figure out whether to opt-out or not.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    So, what is the difference between Ameren and the Alternative Electricity Supplier which is Homefield Energy?

    Residential Electric Supply Agreement

    1. Purchase of Retail Power: Ameren Energy Marketing d/b/a Homefield Energy (Homefield Energy)

    So, are we buying energy from Ameren … another incarnation of a monopoly?

    Does anyone have any further energy about this entity?

  • The way I see it is: Ameren is no longer a electrical producing company. They simply buy electricity and sell it. Now they have branched out to sub companies and selling it. More of which shell is the pea under.

  • Mahkno

    Electrical Generation and Electrical Transmission are two different businesses apparently. The power plant in Pekin is owned by Midwest Generation a subsidiary of Edison International. That plant generates power and sells it to whomever. Ameren controls the powerlines (ie transmission). All the electricity goes into the grid, which could be thought of as a big pool. Ameren does own some power plants for generation. They own one in Bartonville. Other than that, nothing local.

    So for years, Ameren buys power from Edison and bills us as if it were their own generation. Seemless and largely out of our vision. Some law gets passed in Illinois where local communities can opt to buy power directly from various suppliers rather than rely on Ameren to do it for us. Ameren will still be the one doing the transmission. Because of that we will still get a bill from Ameren. For the consumer this is largely a change in billing and nothing more.

    Is the Edison plant in Pekin the cheapest power source? I don’t know. Ameren probably didn’t care either as they passed the costs to the consumer. The closest plant gets the revenue from the closest consumers even tho it all goes into a common grid-pool. This is changing…

    I really wonder how this is going to actually work… lets say we buy our power from Dynergy. They don’t have unlimited capacity. If everyone in Illinois aggregates to to Dynergy and the total sum electrical usage is greater than Dynergy’s capacity does Dynergy get the excess? Sounds fishy… and being in Illinois it probably is.