Urbana Residents Enjoying Lowest Electricity Rates in Area; Aggregation Questions Answered

Municipal Electric LogoNews Release: November 2012

Q. What is Municipal Electric Aggregation and why should I care?

A. Simply put, you should care because aggregation can save you money on your power bill. Most residents will save over $100 annually.

Urbana voters approved municipal electric aggregation in the March 20 primary. It is a way for the city to buy electricity in bulk for city residents and small businesses at a cheaper price.

The city solicited bids in May and obtained a price of 4.05 cents per kilowatt hour from Homefield Energy of Collinsville for two years. That price is 34 percent lower than Ameren Illinois’ summer rate of 6.16 cents, and 25 percent lower than Ameren Illinois’ winter rate of 5.45 cents (October through May rate). It's also the lowest rate being offered in Champaign County.

Q. How do I make sure I'm getting the cheaper rate?

A. The easiest way is to check your Ameren bill. Under the electric supply portion of the bill, you should see the name of the city's retail electric supplier, Homefield Energy. If you see Homefield Energy on your bill, you're a part of the city's municipal electric aggregation program and enjoying the low rate of 4.05 cents per kilowatt hour.

The vast majority of city residences, about 90 percent, are now a part of the city's program. Most recently, opt-out letters were sent in October to residents who moved into their homes or apartments this past summer, after the original opt-out letters went out. Of those new customers receiving letters, 1,534 chose to become a part of the city's program and 17 opted out. These customers will be switched from the Ameren default rate to Homefield's lower rate within the next few weeks.

Q. I contracted with a different retail electric supplier before aggregation became available. How do I get the lower aggregated rate?

A. You need to do a couple of things. First off, check your contract with your existing retail electric supplier and see whether you can cancel the contract without penalty. Some companies have no penalty charge; some charge as much as $125. If you fall into the latter category, you might want to wait until the contract is about to expire before switching.

If you have no penalty charge or your contract with another retail electric supplier is about to expire, you can call or e-mail Homefield Energy and they will switch you over. Give Homefield Energy your name, address, apartment number (if applicable) and, most importantly, your 10-digit Ameren Illinois account number. You can find that account number on your most recent electric bill or get it from Ameren’s customer contact center at 1-800-755-5000.

If you have an expiring contract, let Homefield Energy know when the expiration date is. If you don't have a penalty clause and are switching, it's also probably a good idea to call your old retail electric supplier and let them know you're cancelling.

You can reach Homefield Energy at custcare@homefieldenergy.com or by calling their toll-free number at 866-694-1262. Once you make the switch, your account will be moved to Homefield Energy within the next two to four weeks, based on your meter read date.

Q. I just moved into my apartment and don't think I'm part of the aggregation program yet. What should I do?

Contact Homefield Energy and ask them to switch you over to the city's aggregation program. Contact information is above. 

Q. Does this mean I’ll be getting two electric bills?

A. No, you will still get just one bill from Ameren every month. You’ll see the name Homefield Energy under the electric supply portion of your bill. Ameren Illinois will remain responsible for distributing or delivering the electricity to your residence and will bill you for that on the same bill.

 Q. I’m confused. Can anybody at the city help?

A. Try Homefield Energy first at custcare@homefieldenergy.com or at 866-694-1262. But city staff members Mike Monson at 384-2454 and Scott Tess at 384-2381 are prepared to answer your questions or cut through red tape.

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