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CARBONDALE — The Carbondale City Council has approved an intergovernmental agreement between the city and nine other communities for electrical aggregation.

City Manager Kevin Baity said he expected the opt-out aggregation plan, in which communities band together to purchase low-cost energy, to provide “a staggering amount of savings” to customers.

Councilmen wanted to make sure “green energy” purchases would be available, which they are. The city can control the amount of “green energy” that would be delivered to customers.

“We are bound to go with the same supplier,” Baity said. “We are not bound to go with the same percent of ‘green energy’ that the others choose to go with.”

“As long as that’s the case, then I’m OK with this,” Chris Wissmann later said. “We’re going to save a lot of money. I think even if we went with 100 percent green energy we would save a lot of money.”

Carbondale joins Chester, Coulterville, Elkville, Marion, unincorporated Perry County, Sparta, Steelville, Tamaroa and West Frankfort.

Select Energy Partners will act as the communities’ proxy in negotiations with energy suppliers. Select Energy will gather usage data, analyze offers from retailers, including those peddling “green” energy, recommend supplier alternatives, negotiate offers, assist with contract review and selection and conduct ongoing monitoring.

Each community would have one vote when it’s time to decide which energy producer would supply the group. Ameren Illinois would still be the biller.

“The bigger load usually results in a better price so that’s the idea of teaming up with other communities,” Select Energy’s Nick Hill said.

The opt-out program is available to Ameren Illinois customers. Those using other suppliers are not eligible. Ameren would continue to bill those customers who enter the plan. Hill recommended customers on Ameren’s Power Smart Pricing program stay with it.

Councilman Lance Jack asked Hill how Select Energy made money and how much money it expected to make. Hill said he would not know the amount until final usage is tallied, but the company would be paid a percentage by the supplier with the successful bid.

On Twitter: @DW_Norris_SI

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