By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Pittsfield's residential and small commercial retail customers should see savings this winter on utility bills.
Mayor John Hayden told aldermen Tuesday that the city has a 17-month municipal aggregation contract with Homefield Energy for traditional, not renewable, energy.
The contract rate is .03909 per kilowatt hour, "which should represent a 29 percent savings," City Clerk Cindy Prentice said. "They're thinking it will show up on late February to March billings."
Homefield Energy, the residential electric supply option from Ameren Energy Marketing, approached Pittsfield in June about pursuing municipal aggregation.
Voters in November approved the increasingly popular option where municipalities band together, or work alone, to get bids on the electric supply portion of utility bills to get a better rate. Customers have the option to opt out if they don't want to take part.
Hayden and representatives from 55 central and southern Illinois communities heard proposals from several energy providers, selected by consultant Good Energy, and made the choice on Dec. 11 in Granite City. All the cities had to choose the same provider but could look at different contract lengths.
Aldermen had recommended an 18-month contract in hopes of working with an even larger number of communities in the future. Another group of 50 communities in May went through the process for a 24-month contract, and Pittsfield hopes to work with those communities to get an even better rate.
Homefield will supply electricity to a total of nearly 500,000 homes and small businesses at an estimated 24 percent savings for average residential customers.
The process won't lower the delivery charge from Ameren on monthly bills, but it was touted as a way to drop energy costs by an average of 30 percent for customers.
Also Tuesday, aldermen adopted the tax levy totaling $303,500. The city's levy has not changed in at least eight years.
In other action, the Pittsfield City Council:
º Learned the city got an approval letter from the Environmental Protection Agency for a $2.8 million upgrade to the wastewater facility.
º Gave final approval to an ordinance amending permitted uses in areas zoned B-3 to include lumber yards. The ordinance is tied to plans by Atlas Construction, more commonly known as Pike County lumber, to move to a new site west of town and clear the way for a Casey's General Store at its current location.
º Heard the wastewater committee voted to waive the bidding process and approve emergency repairs to a pump at the wastewater facility. The repairs by Vandevanter Engineers will cost $59,599.