Frequently Asked Questions
about Municipal Electric Aggregation
For Ameren Illinois Customers



      What is it?
          A change in law in January 2010 allows
          residents and small businesses in a community
          to pool, or aggregate, their demand for electricity
          to seek lower prices for electric supply.

     What are the benefits?
          The key benefit is the opportunity to achieve savings
          in the cost of electricity supply.

          Other advantages are that the price of electricity is fixed
          for the duration of the contract and that certain costs, like
          fuel adjustment charges not included in the default supply price,
          are included in the electric aggregation price.

     What if the initial price is higher than the utility’s?
          The municipality is not obligated to accept a proposed price. 

     How long would the supply price continue?
          The price bid under electric aggregation is fixed for the duration of the

     How does a municipality establish a municipal electric aggregation program
     for its residential and small business constiuents?

          First, the municipality’s Governing Board passes an ordinance to place the
          question on the ballot so that residents have the opportunity to vote on it.
          Next, residents vote whether to accept it.  If residents pass the referendum,
          the community may seek lower prices for their electric supply.
     What is the difference between the electric aggregation program and the
     programs where companies are calling me to sell me electricity over the

          The main difference is in the buying power aggregation provides to you.
          Such marketers generally sign up customers one at a time, and in most
          cases the price is higher. The price frequently has been higher than the
          price of power Ameren Illinois delivers.

     What questions should I ask to help me understand which program is better
     for me?

          If you wish to compare retail prices for electricity to the price your
          municipality obtains, some questions you might want to ask are:
               1. What is the rate?
               2. How does it compare to the municipal aggregation rate?
               3. Is the solicitor’s rate fixed or variable during the contract period?
                   Variable means the ratecan go up or down monthly.
               4. Can the contract be terminated before it expires?
               5. Is there an early cancellation fee and, if so, how much is it?
               6. Does the rate include the transmission charge (the cost of getting
                   electricity from the electric generating station to your community)?
               7. Does the rate include fuel adjustment charges (the cost of fuel to
                   generate electricity that exceeds the fuel cost built into the
                   utility’s rate)?


     Who is eligible to participate?
          Any resident and small business within the corporate limits of an Illinois
          municipality served by a regulated public utility is eligible to participate
          in a municipality’s electric aggregation program.

    What small businesses can participate?
          A small business that uses 15,000 kilowatthours or less per year is eligible.
     Are customers of Ameren in the unincorporated area of a county eligible?
          Yes. The term “municipality” refers to units of government including cities,
          villages, unincorporated areas of counties, and townships.

     How would a county or township establish municipal electric aggregation.
          In the same way as described above. The Governing Board passes an
          ordinance to place the issue on the ballot. Then the county or township’s
          residents vote on whether to accept it.
     If the county establishes a municipal electric aggregation program, are customers
     of a regulated utilitiy who live in a city that is within the county eligible?

          No. Each municipal government must establish its own program for
          its constituents.          


     Will someone call or visit to sign me up?
          No. Enrollment is automatic,  and no one will call or visit.

          If someone calls or visits claiming to represent your municipality or
          supplier, you may be scammed. Notify your municipality. You also may
          want to file a complaint with the Consumer Affairs Divison of the Illinois
          Commerce Commission.

     How does one enroll in a municipal electric aggregation program?
          Residential and small business constitutents in communities whose voters
          have passed a referendum to approve electric aggregation are enrolled
          automatically. No one, however, is obligated to participate. Residents may
          “opt out” for any reason and without penalty or cost.      

     Will a new resident of the municipality be eligible to participate?
          Yes, and enrollment can be accomplished in three steps:
               1.  Sign up for service with Ameren
               2.  Obtain your Ameren account number.
               3.  Then call the municipality’s electric supply provider.

     I moved to a different apartment in town. Will I continue to be eligible?
          Yes, by simply following the steps above.


     Will I have to participate?
          No. You have a legal right to opt for any reason and at no cost or

     How does one opt out?
          Both the supplier and Ameren notify every eligible resident and small
          business by letter of their right to opt out and indicate ways to do so,
          including a toll-free number to the supplier’s customer service desk.

     Does that mean one would be able to remain with Ameren?
     Will I be penalized if I opt out?


     Will I be able to join if I already have a contract with an alternate supplier?
          Yes, but you will want to check your contract to make sure you would
          not be subject to a fee for cancelling your contract early.

     If I am with an alternate supplier, will I be switched to the municipal program?
          No. Your account will not be included on the eligibility list to avoid the
          risk of an early cancellation fee. You will have the choice to enroll,
          however, if you wish.


     Will I get two bills if we get a different electricity supplier?
          Normally not. You will want to check with your municipality to find out
          how billing will be handled under your program.

     Who will I call if I have a question about the bill?
          You will continue to call Ameren’s toll-free number for service and billing


     Whom will I call if my power goes out or for other service problems?
          You will call Ameren, which continues to provide  distribution services
           in the municipality.

     Will I risk poorer service from Ameren if I opt out?
          No. Standards by law and regulation for the quality of Ameren’s service
          does not change.         

     Will I be hurting my delivery company by switching?
          No. Ameren provides distribution service only. Any electricity it delivers
          within the community is provided by the Illinois Power Agency.

     Will the delivery company raise rates if too many people switch?
          No. Again, Ameren does not supply power, so a change in the electric
          supplier will not affect Ameren’s rates.


     What will the rate be?
          That is determined by bid from qualified electric suppliers.

     How will I know what the rate is before the program begins?
          The new supplier will notify  each resident and small business customer
          by letterof the bid price to compare and terms and conditions.
          That correspondence also will provide information about how to opt out
          for any customer who wishes to do so.

     How long will the contract be for?
          The duration will be determined in the bid. Suppliers usually propose rates
          for contracts of various durations.

     Will the fixed price last the entire term of the contract?

     What will be included in the price?
          Included are the supply of electricity, transmission, and related charges

     What happens if bids come in higher than the current default price?
          Municipalities are not required to accept bids and may reject them.


     Where might I get more information?
          Additional information is available from Ameren and the Illinois
          Commerce Commission.

for Competitive Electricity

The Power of Choice






Paid for by Citizens for Competitive Electricity