By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
Voters are expected to get the opportunity to decide if they want residential aggregation in the April election after members of the county board voted to place a referendum.
“Any opportunity to allow county residents to save money should be on the ballot,” said County Board member Wayne Hicks.
The Services Committee met as a committee of the whole on Wednesday, and heard more about the process of electric aggregation for residential customers from Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas and Electric. AGE will also be recommended as the county consultant for a ballot referendum, and brokering the electricity for the county residents who qualify for the program if voters approve a referendum.
County Board Chairman Robert White explained the process of electric aggregation for county residents, should a referendum pass, would be that one bill from Ameren would be received by those who are not members of Tri-County Electric Cooperative, with a delivery charge listed from Ameren, and another line item for the supply charge, which would be brokered.
Haarmann explained members of Tri-County Electric Cooperative do not qualify for the aggregation program, since they are already a part of a cooperative.
“They already own part of a generation plant,” Haarmann said. “They secure their own supply and own the plants. ... They do not have any problem with electric aggregation, and it doesn’t affect them at all.”
Haarmann estimated about 1,800 households in the county would be affected should the electric aggregation pass.
“If people don’t want to do it, if it passes, they can opt out,” White added. “It’s the voter’s choice. Our only part is to allow it to be put to the voters.”
Haarmann estimated a $1.3 million savings in a 12 month period for those in the aggregate.
The recommendation will be presented during the December county board meeting.