Questions answered at W.F. electric aggregation hearing


On Monday, a handful of residents attended the first of two informational meetings on electric aggregation at West Frankfort City Hall. The meeting was led by Anna M. Baluyot,  managing partner of Select Energy, of Chicago.

Baluyot reported that on Election Day, 95 percent of the electric aggregation ballot questions were approved by voters across Illinois. West Frankfort was one of the those communities approving the question. This means that the city will work with Select Energy to buy the lowest kilowatt hour rate available on the energy market for the residents of West Frankfort.
In many cases, it was said, these savings could be as much as 20 percent off the rates currently being paid to purchase power by electric customers. Ameren will continue to provide basic infrastrucure in the city, and customers will continue to pay Ameren for the delivery of their electricity.
West Frankfort Mayor Tom Jordan reported that one of his prime concerns was how current provider Ameren felt about aggregation. Jordan pointed out that the city has a 30-year contract with Ameren Illinois.
“I was concerned about hurting Ameren,” said Jordan. But, once he ascertained that the plan was not hurtful to Ameren efforts, Jordan said he began supporting the possible lower rates for local residents. Now, said the mayor, “The only people against it are the small door-to-door individual power salespersons.”
Baluyot answered questions that have been frequently mentioned during multiple such meetings she has led, including:
  • No action will be needed to take advantage of the savings. You are included unless you choose to opt out. Eventually, residents will receive a letter explaining more about the program and how it may help residents. There will be a card included that you can fill out, to opt out of the program.
  • Ameren will still maintain the city’s electric infrastructure, power poles and lines into homes.
  • You will continue to get one electric bill, but with the savings included.
  • Power purchase will begin with this larger base of consumers in January.
  • The city will oversee the process, with Select Energy, to help insure the lowest possible rate for residents.
Currently, according to Baluyot, “Some 400 Illinois communities take part in this program.”
Another mandated public informational meeting will be held at West Frankfort City Hall at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20. The meeting is open to the public.

Electric aggregation public hearings this week in West Frankfort

Public hearings are set for 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19, and Tuesday, Nov. 20, at West Frankfort City Hall, regarding the electric aggregation process.

Earlier this month, West Frankfort voters approved a measure that allows city officials to seek out proposals on behalf of residents and businesses from electricity suppliers. The city has an agreement with Select Energy Partners to handle the process.

City officials have said they hope that electric aggregation will result in lower electricity rates for the city’s homes and businesses.

The city’s current electric utility, Ameren, would still control infrastructure – such as power poles and lines – and delivery of electricity, regardless of the supplier selected. Residents and businesses wishing to remain with Ameren would be able to opt out of the city’s electric aggregation contract.

Nick Hill, a representative of Select Energy, will outline the next steps in the electric aggregation process and facilitate the public hearings this week.

— Bruce A. Fasol

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News