MT. VERNON — The push is on to educate voters prior to the March 18 election on the issue of electric aggregation.
The ballot question will be posed to voters in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County on the ballot to determine if they want to participate in electric aggregation — the second time the question will be posed.
Electric aggregation was passed for the villages of the county and the city of Mt. Vernon during the last election, however, it was defeated in the unincorporated areas of the county by 104 votes — less than 5 percent of the voters with 710 undervotes recorded.
“We think if we do a better job of presenting the facts, those 700 people would’ve voted yes,” Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas and Electric said, adding he believes Tri-County Electric Cooperative customers may have affected the first vote on the issue and creating the under votes.
Aggregation will not affect Tri-County Electric Co-op customers, but those customers will be asked to vote on the question. AGE is asking for Tri-County customers to to vote in favor to allow their neighbors on Ameren Illinois the ability to aggregate.
In an effort to educate all voters on the issue of electric aggregation, a 15-minute presentation will be available online to anyone who wishes to log in and view it on Feb. 1 at 1 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“The short presentation will provide an overview of electricity aggregation and the savings other communities have already seen upon passage of referendums in their communities,” information from Haarmann states. “The online presentations entited, “Your Community’s Guide to Lower Electric Rates” is free to participate in and are accessible by registering...”
The 1 p.m. presentation is available at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8081314063535946754; the 5:30 p.m. presentation is at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2989950704328724482; and the 7 p.m. presentation is at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/175827658850013954.
According to Haarmann, communities in Illinois are seeing savings of nearly 15 to 25 percent on electricity supply rates through aggregation.
“The online presentations will explain why passage of the referendum is the most important first step towards lower electricity rates but also will show that even when approved, anyone who doesn’t want to participate int he lower rates secured will have the option to opt-out of the program without penalty,” information states.
“We hold public meetings at city and village halls of every community and try to make as many presentations at civic organizations as we can,” Haarmann said. “With the recent bouts of snow and cold weather, we wanted to make these presentations available to residents from the comfort of their own home. We also want to make sure everyone understands why aggregation has proven to deliver the lowest rates, for the longest term, from the most qualified suppliers in the industry.”