Several Metro East communities want to negotiate electricity supply costs for their residents and businesses.
A 2009 law allows Illinois cities and counties to contract with suppliers in order to negotiate prices with electric utilities.
It’s called "municipal aggregation" and referendums are on the ballot in Belleville, Collinsville, and Edwardsville. Click here for a complete list.
Nearly 250 Illinois municipalities already have done so, including Alton and Glen Carbon.
Jim Chilsen with the Citizens Utility Board
says so far those communities are saving between 10 percent to 40 percent for their residents and businesses.
"It’s takes a Costco approach to power buying," Chilsen said. "Just as the wholesale warehouse chain saves by buying in bulk, the theory is that community leaders can negotiate lower electricity prices by using the collective buying power of their residents and small businesses."
Chilsen says there’s no guarantee those savings will continue in the long run.
He says the cost of supplying electricity already is expected to drop next year when the state’s contracts with ComEd and Ameren Illinois expire.
Chilsen stresses that residents and business owners who want to opt out of the program will be able to do so.
Follow Maria Altman on Twitter: @radioaltman