By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
A series of public meetings have been scheduled and the draft rules of operation and governance has been filed in preparation for the April 9 referendum on electric aggregation.
"The mayors, village presidents, county board chairs, councils, village and county boards we represent in this matter wanted to make the rules of operation and governance available prior to the election so the residents know exactly what they will be voting on in April," said Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas and Electric, which is the consultant chosen by the municipalities for the electric aggregation. "The purpose of municipal electricity aggregation is to take advantage of economics of scale and group purchasing to reduce the price you pay for electricity. Other communities have overwhelmingly passed these referendum and are saving significant money on their electric bills."
The Rules of Operation and Governance are available to the public at www.AffordableElectricRates.com.
Under terms of electric aggregation as allowed by state law, municipalities and counties may negotiate the purchase of electricity on behalf of residential and small business customers in their areas after a referendum has passed allowing the negotiations. The utility being replaced still must deliver power to homes and provide one bill to customers.
If the electric aggregation referendum passes, residents may still decide to opt-out of the program and continue using their existing provider for electricity. In addition, residents who are part of the Tri-County Electric Cooperative are not eligible for electric aggregation, although they will be voting on the issues for those who are eligible.
The idea behind electric aggregation is money can be saved by creating a combined customer group — or aggregate — that has more buying power than individual residential customers.
Prior to the vote on April 9, state law requires two public meetings be held for public input, questions and comments regarding the Rules of Operation and Governance. In Jefferson County, public hearings have been scheduled for:
Communities which are part of the AGE aggregation group include Mt. Vernon, unincorporated Jefferson County, Ina, Bluford, Dix, Waltonville, Woodlawn, Bonnie, Belle Rive, unincorporated Washington County, Nashville, Ashley, New Minden, Okawville, Oakdale, Central City, Junction City, Odin, Iuka, Kinmundy, Patoka, Sandoval, Lawrenceville, Grayville, Crossville, St. Elmo and Watson.
Additional information is available by calling 207-3450 with specific questions or by going to www.facebook.com/AffordableElectriRates for updates and answers to frequently asked questions.