By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Quincy City Council approved a plan of operation and governance for the municipal aggregation program during a brief meeting Monday night.
The aggregation plan is a standard agreement that includes requirements that the supplier maintain certification from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, provide residents a call center if they have questions and allow residents to opt out of the program if they desire.
Under municipal aggregation, homeowners and small businesses would be grouped together to allow the city to bid for electric supply on their behalf to lower costs. The Nov. 7 referendum was approved by 65 percent of Quincy voters.
Proponents of the referendums argue that electric rates could decrease as much as 35 percent, potentially saving as much as $200 a year for the average homeowner.
The ordinance allows Mayor John Spring or Director of Administrative Services Gary Sparks to sign the new agreement with the power supplier.
Alderman voted 12-0 to approve the ordinance. Alderman Tony Sassen, R-4, abstained, since he works for Ameren Illinois, and Alderman Glenda "LeXze" Mann, R-1, was absent.
The city was required to host two public meetings -- the last hosted Monday night -- before approving the ordinance.
A new electric supplier could be picked as early as January. Reg Ankrom, a senior consultant for the city's electric broker Simec, said he expects bids will be solicited after the first week of December, since communities still need to complete the public hearing requirement.
"(The electric suppliers') response is expected to take seven to 10 days, and once the trigger is pulled by the communities, Ameren Illinois will be notified," he said.
The company will read electric meters before customers are switched to a new supplier.
The future contract will include a provision that would allow the power supplier to match Ameren Illinois' rates if they drop below the new rate. Customers could also be reverted back to Ameren.
Residents that already receive their power from an alternative supplier or from Adams Electric Cooperative will not be included in the program.
Those who do not wish to take part of the program will receive two notices with information on how to opt out.
"They'll get two letters, and those letters will be spaced approximately 14 to 21 days apart," Ankrom said. "Each letter will contain a card that will allow a person to complete it and mail it back at no cost, and that's what they will use to opt out."