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City and Town negotiate three-year fixed electricity rates

Power pole

The City of Bloomington and Town of Normal have picked a new electricity supplier to serve residents for the next three years (July 2022 to June 2025). So-called "aggregator" Constellation NewEnergy replaces Homefield Energy as the new low bidder for bundled power rates.

Town spokesperson Cathy Oloffson said the city and town have a good track record of favorable deals for residents as part of a consortium that also includes businesses and school districts.

"The rates for the last contract negotiated were among the lowest in the state," said Oloffson. "One of the advantages of participating in the program is that it does lock you into a fixed rate for the contract period.

"Residents were able to benefit from that even though energy prices continued to increase throughout the term of the last contract as well."

She said residents can opt out of the package rate of $0.07859 per kilowatt hour (kWh) that also includes a “green” energy option at a rate of Enhanced Renewable Energy Certificates (REC), $0.08324 per kWh, and decide to pay Ameren or another provider directly. But energy prices are volatile.

Residential rate customers will have two opportunities to “opt out” of the program. Constellation NewEnergy, Inc and Ameren will both contact eligible customers by mail to offer the opportunity to opt-out of aggregation at no charge.

Residents who opt out of the program will remain on their current supply choice, whether that is Ameren Illinois Basic Generation Service (BSG), Power Smart Pricing, or a RES supplier of their choosing. Opt-out letters will be mailed to all eligible residents in the coming weeks.

"Ameren's rates right now are likely a little bit lower than those negotiated in this contract, but they will be making their purchase in the next couple months and we know that the price of electricity as with many other rising prices will continue to go up," said Oloffson.

The town and city noted if you do choose to accept market rates instead of taking the negotiated fixed price for power, you can't get back in for a year.

"With energy prices on the rise, this agreement gives residents a choice,” said Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason.

The town and city are part of a consortium of municipalities, businesses, school districts and other power users that band together to negotiate rates.

“The Town of Normal does not benefit from this program. The program is purely for residents’ use and access,” said Normal City Manager Pam Reece. “Electric aggregation offers residents an option to save money and provides a predictable rate for budgeting purposes.”

There are more than 40,000 accounts in the consortium.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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