Editor's Note: This is the latest in a series of preview of city contested races and referenda that will be on the Tuesday, April 9 Consolidated Election ballot.
MT. VERNON — County, village and city residents, will be asked whether to allow electric aggregation when at the polls on Tuesday.
"Shall the (district) have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?" the referendum reads. In place of (district) each voter will have their area added — Jefferson County, Village of Bluford, Village of Waltonville, Village of Belle Rive, City of Mt. Vernon, Village of Dix, Village of Ina, Village of Bonnie and Village of Woodlawn.
Although all voters will be asked to vote on the issue, electric aggregation only affects those customers who are currently receiving their power from Ameren IP. Tri-County Electric Cooperative members are not eligible for electric aggregation as they are already an aggregate.
"Municipal aggregation allows a county, city or village to negotiate an electric supply contract for their residents who are Ameren customers," Tri-County Electric General Manager Marcia Scott said in a newsletter to members. "They are responsible for negotiating the price of power from a retail electric supplier. However, the local utility will still be responsible for deliving that power to a customer's home and billing them for it. ... The aggregation programs do not affect Tri-County members. Because of their consumer-owned structure and aggregated buying power, not-for-profit electric cooperatives and municipally-owned utilities were treated differently than for-profit, investor-owned utilities such as Ameren. Locally owned and controlled electric cooperatives, like Tri-County, were allowed to make a local decision on whether to maintain their aggregated buying power as a group or to enter the deregulated market. Tri-County elected not to enter the deregulated market. However, Tri-County members may still receive correspondence regarding this issue or may have friends or neighbors served by Ameren that could be affected by these programs."