Residents of the City of Bloomington are now receiving notices about the next round of municipal electricity aggregation. Residents may opt-out, or otherwise are by default are included in the new program. But what is aggregation? What is this all about? The EAC has put together a short list of questions and answers to help clarify the issue.
What is Municipal Electricity Aggregation?
- In April 2013, Bloomington residents voted to give the City of Bloomington the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for residential and small commercial (using less than15,000kWh annually). This agreement is for Ameren territory only – members of Corn BeltEnergy cooperative are excluded.
- Electric aggregation allows Bloomington to secure bulk pricing through a bidding process, and provide rate stability through the contract period.
How does electric aggregation work on my bill?
- Through the electric aggregation process, the City of Bloomington secures a new electricity supplier. Electricity delivery remains with Ameren and your monthly electric bill will still come from Ameren.
- Homefield Energy is the current supplier through June of 2018 at a rate of 5.669 cents per kWh.
- New supplier contract from June 2018 – June 2020 is with MidAmerican Energy Services offering a set rate of 5.07 cents per kWh.
- All Bloomington residents (that are not part of the Corn Belt Energy cooperative) are automatically enrolled in aggregation unless they decide to opt-out by April 11, 2018.
What are the potential benefits to participating in municipal aggregation?
- Secure rates. Ameren rates are subject to change twice a year. They send their rate proposals to the Illinois Commerce Commission for approval. Locking in a known rate through the municipal aggregation program can help reduce the risk of fluctuating and unknown rates.
- Lower rates. The current Ameren rate through May of 2018 is 5.14 cents per kWh, compared to the 5.07 cents per kWh offered through MidAmerican. Their new rates have not been approved by the ICC yet, and are not available. Summer rates are often higher than non-summer rates.
- Energy from 100% renewable sources. This does not mean the actual electricity you consume comes directly from a renewable energy source like wind or solar. The grid is constantly being fed by a variety of energy sources from nuclear to solar to coal. Plans that offer renewable sources mean that the energy supplier (in this case MidAmerican Energy Services) is buying renewable energy credits (RECs) on your behalf. The RECs represent clean energy that’s being added to the power grid somewhere.
- Reduces hassle. Residents can always look for other suppliers and other forms of reduced energy rates on their own, but this can be time-consuming and stressful. Since the aggregation deal also affects the City’s own energy pricing for municipal buildings along with the residential energy consumption of City employees residing in Bloomington – they are motivated to look for low rates to save money.
- You can cancel your aggregation participation anytime without penalty. You just need to contact MidAmerican’s customer service department 800-342-3346 or email [email protected] to do so. This means that if at any time Ameren’s rates appear lower than the pricing offered through aggregation (keep in mind Ameren’s rates can change every 6 months, and go back up at any time) you can cancel your participation.
- If you CURRENTLY have a solar installation (roof or ground mount) and were participating in the last round of aggregation with Homefield Energy – any built up production credits through your net metering service will zero out at the start of this new aggregation contract (June 2018), but will start up again right after that. This is because those credits were supplied through Homefield as your energy supplier, and switching suppliers to MidAmerican will have to start the annual net metering process over.
- Remember, the cheapest kilowatt-hour is the one you never use! Energy efficiency is the best way to save money on your utility bills, and the utility companies offer a variety of rebates and incentives for efficiency upgrades. Contact the Ecology Action Center for a $20 home energy assessment and let us help you find easy ways to save money by reducing your energy needs and consumption! Learn more at BNenergybright.org or by calling 309-454-3169 x.15.