Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 5, 2012

Who supplies energy topic at meeting

Ryan Ellis
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM —     Jerod McMorris from Good Energy’s Peoria office was in Effingham Friday at the Keller Convention Center to promote and defend the Nov. 6 vote to contract a new energy supplier in the area other than Ameren.

    Good Energy was chosen as a consultant to help choose new energy companies for the area. The transition is currently under way, said McMorris. He said five to seven companies are currently qualified as bidders. The company that wins the bid will be Effingham’s new energy supplier if “the vote passes at 50-plus percent,” said McMorris.

    “Some guy with next to nothing and a hamster on a wheel can qualify (as an energy supplier in the bid),” said McMorris. He explained that all the companies chosen are reputable fortune 500 companies.

    “We’re completely calling the dice that Effingham will vote yes,” said McMorris. A letter will arrive after the vote if it wins to tell people who their new energy supplier is. If people still want to stay with Ameren, all they have to do is detach a portion of the letter and send it back saying they want to stay with their current provider. Twenty days after the first letter, another letter will arrive from Ameren. This letter will prompt a reply, or the receiver will automatically be put on the new plan.

    McMorris said it doesn’t make much sense for people to switch to the new energy provider if they still have nine months left on their contract. He said this way, “people don’t have to pay $90 to save $20 or $30.”

    McMorris said no matter what the outcome of the vote is,  people can choose to stay with Ameren. From the point of view of the public, McMorris asked if Effingham could be trusted to negotiate on behalf of the majority of the community.

    If the bill passes, McMorris said on an individual level, people would be saving $20 or $30 a piece on their bill every month. However, he said on a community scale, the money adds up very quickly.

    For example, the same plan was implemented in Peoria with a new energy supplier chosen for them. McMorris said the $20 to $30 savings a month adds up to around $180 a year individually. Every individual added up to $8 million a year saved by the entire community.

    McMorris said Illinois is one of two states in the nation to be implementing this plan to help the public save on energy. Ohio is the other. He said overall, Ohio saved roughly 8 percent. According to McMorris, Illinois would save between 20 and 25 percent annually.

    Along with the savings, McMorris said if Ameren’s rates fell below the new electric company, the company would have to match the rates or let the customers return to Ameren’s services.

    McMorris said whoever the new energy supplier is, they’ll have to cooperate with Ameren. No matter who wins the bid for Effingham, Ameren will still be in charge of reading meters and maintaining the powerlines in the area.

    Voting for the municipal aggregation will be held Tuesday.