Mt. Vernon Register-News

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May 3, 2013

New electric rate quotes expected this month

MT. VERNON — Proposals for electric suppliers are due on Monday for those areas which approved electric aggregation on the April ballot.

"It's looking pretty good," said Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas and Electric, the company chosen as the broker for aggregation. "Monday, I'm supposed to have proposals back from the suppliers we approved, and then I will be compiling the various proposals and taking them to the cities and villages next week. If all goes well, and we get what I think we will get, we should have agreements signed May 10."Haarmann said the next step, after the supplier is selected, will be the official opt-out period. The opt-out period allows any residents in the areas which passed aggregation who wish to opt-out of the program to do so."Customers will begin receiving letters from the winning supplier," Haarmann said."The letter will state the rate we secured and the term as well as frequently asked questions. ... They will get a sample letter from Ameren — the utility company — that will state the account is being switched from Ameren to the winning supplier, whoever that is. "Haarmann said once residents receive the letter, they can be confused about what is going on."People are in the program because it was voted in," Haarmann explained. "To do anything at this point would be leaving the program. If you do nothing, at this point, you are in. That can be confusing."Haarmann said after the two week opt out period, accounts will begin to be enrolled with the winning supplier of electricity by the June and July meter read dates. Haarmann said independent electric supply companies are now sending out marketing mailings and calling residents to ask them to switch their electric supplier now, which would opt people out of the aggregation."I personally have three direct mail pieces from suppliers trying to get customers in these communities because it's their last chance," Haarmann said. "I even live in Tri-County and am not eligible to switch. The rates we anticipate and rates we have seen in other communities from April election have been less than the direct mail pieces and telemarketing calls people are receiving. Residents are not going to get a better rate if they switch now. I urge everyone to wait for the rate, then can opt out if they think they can get a better deal. To opt out now would mean they could get a higher rate."If anyone decides to opt out of electric aggregation, the letter they receive from the supplier will include a perforated card to fill out and drop in the mail."That will opt them out," Haarmann said. Haarmann said anticipated savings are still at the 20 percent mark from rates of last year."From the preliminary numbers, I think we will be happy with where we will be," Haarmann said.

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