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Tue October 23, 2012
Voting Power: Ballot Measure on Electricity Aggregation
Municipal aggregation when it comes to electricity took a while to catch on. Now, it is on the ballot in about 200 communities, including in rural areas of LaSalle County. Businesses and households can become their customers individually. But with voters' approval, communities can also do it collectively for residents. There are now 30 alternative suppliers.
Chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission Doug Scott says that combined buying power can lead to better deals.
Scott says it didn't take off right away:
"At first there were just a few communities that decided to put this on the ballot and opt for a referendum. And then when people started to see that, what the prices were being generated, and how much folks were saving, then you saw it expand to a lot more municipalities. And now it's expanding to even more still."
More than 250 municipalities have voted to let their governments go shopping for the best price for power. And this election gives another 200 the chance. Scott says with aggregation, prices for electricity have dropped by as much as 40 percent. Even if a ballot measure succeeds, a resident can "opt out" and choose his or her own supplier.
Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report