Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 8, 2014

County votes on aggregation

Editor’s Note:

This is the fifth story featuring candidates and referendum in Jefferson County for the March 18 Primary Election. Today the electric aggregation referendum is highlighted.

MT. VERNON — The question of whether electric aggregation will be allowed in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County will be posed to voters on the March 18 primary election ballot.

This is the second time the question will be posed to voters — during the last election, the referendum passed in villages in the county and the city of Mt. Vernon, however it was defeated in the unincorporated areas of the county by 104 votes — which was less than 5 percent of the voters in the election. In addition, there were 710 undervotes cast.

Electric aggregation only affects customers of Ameren and not Tri-County Electric Cooperative, which may have accounted for the undervotes and the referendum defeat last time.

“We think if we had done a better job of presenting the facts, those 700 people would have votes yes,” said Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas and Electric. Haarmann said he believes Tri-County Electric customers, knowing the issue didn’t affect their service, didn’t vote.

Aggregation will not affect Tri-County Electric Cooperative customers, but they will be asked to vote on the question.

Since aggregation was passed for the City of Mt. Vernon, former Ameren customers are seeing a 14 percent savings over last year, according to the latest report to the City Council. Twenty-eight communities are part of the aggregate in which the city is a part.

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