Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 5, 2014

Group open for chamber members

MT. VERNON — Business members of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting enrollments to the electric and natural gas buying group which has provided discounts to rates for local businesses.

The Central and Southern Illinois Chamber of Commerce Electricity and Natural Gas Buying Group began two years ago and helped the charter members benefit from large scale buying power by combining into one large pool and bidding the combined load to multiple energy suppliers, according to information from Affordable Gas & Electric.

The group consists of Chambers from Jefferson County, Carbondale, Centralia, Marion, Murphysboro, Herrin, Carterville, Lawrence County, Salem, West Frankfort, Virden, Girard and Beardstown.

“This past winter, many business owners were hit hard by the harsh winter and its effect on natural gas prices,” said Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas & Electric. “Natural gas increases also pushed the electricity prices to recent highs. Business owners in our buying group were protected from these massive price spikes because they were locked into fixed electricity and natural gas rates that were well below market spikes.”

The enrollment period for new enrollees — businesses which are members of the chambers which make up the buying group — runs through July 25. New enrollees will be included with a group of nearly 200 current businesses, who account for nearly 25 million kwhs of electricity and more than 1 million therms of natural gas.

The effort to begin the buying group started in October 2012, when the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and AGE launched the program for its members. Other chambers in Southern Illinois then began joining the group.

Additional information on how to join the Chamber and how to become a part of the buying group is available by contacting the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at 242-5725.

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