CHICAGO, March 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has a free guide for voters as scores of Illinois communities prepare to hold March 18 referenda asking residents if they want local leaders to negotiate power prices with ComEd or Ameren competitors.
CUB's Guide to Municipal Electricity Aggregation is at www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
"Electricity choice must be informed choice," CUB Executive Director David Kolata said Wednesday. "Whether you vote for or against aggregation, you should be armed with the facts."
Since 2010, about 670 local or county governments have passed referenda allowing them to negotiate electricity prices with unregulated power companies on behalf of residents. About 80 more have referenda on March 18, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).
Municipal aggregation takes a "Costco" approach to buying electricity. Just as the wholesale warehouse chain can secure lower prices for items such as TVs by buying in bulk, the theory is that local leaders could negotiate lower electricity prices by using the collective buying power of their residents and small businesses.
CUB's guide includes key information for consumers. For example, even if your community passes the referendum, you will not be required to sign up with an alternative electricity supplier. You can opt out of the program. Also, aggregation does not mean you will avoid utility rate hikes. It just means a different company is supplying your electricity. Your utility—Ameren or ComEd—will still charge you for delivering the power to your home. Those "delivery" rates are what go up when the ICC grants utility increases.
CUB, Illinois' leading nonprofit utility watchdog organization, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. Created by the Illinois Legislature, CUB opened its doors in 1984 to represent the interests of residential and small-business utility customers. Since then, CUB has saved consumers more than $10 billion by helping to block rate hikes and secure refunds over the years. For more information, call 1-800-669-5556 or visit www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.
SOURCE Citizens Utility Board