Reject Government Sponsored Slamming of your Electric Bill
On March 20, 2012, residents in nearly 200 communities throughout Chicagoland and Northern Illinois will face a referendum on the ballot that will essentially ask them if they would like their local City Council or County Board Members to select an electricity provider for them. This program called Municipal Aggregation is being touted as an opportunity for communities to band together and purchase electricity at a wholesale rate on behalf of their residents. As a united group of concerned Citizens, we believe this is a blatant and gross intrusion from Governments in Illinois. We are also very concerned that although this program may seem like reasonable propositions on the surface, the rush to roll out it out to numerous communities all at once leaves many questions unanswered. We feel the lack of full understanding of these programs by the voters will result in negative consequences for the residents of Illinois were passed.
At its core, municipal aggregation programs are nothing more than government-sponsored “slamming” — or the switching of residents to an electricity supplier chosen by the municipality. The fact is, if residents take NO action, they are then automatically included and rolled into these municipal programs. Please do not think for a minute they don’t understand human nature and the small likelihood of people jumping through their hoops in order to opt-out. We all have very busy lives, and tracking down your electric bill, filling out a form, then mailing it back “in time” may not be a high priority for most people. This is what the municipalities and their hired consultants are counting on. Again, if and only if a customer affirmatively completes the steps necessary to “opts out”, or chooses their own electricity supplier will they be excluded.
In addition to the underhanded tactics being employed, the facts about the effectiveness of these programs is seriously in question. As of the writing of this piece, there are 19 communities in Illinois that have already adopted and implemented aggregation programs. Of those, residents in 14 of those communities who were switched to the municipal plan, most unknowingly, are now paying a higher rate then they could find for themselves on the open market. Not a very good success rate.
It is our belief that implementing this type of program is not the role of the local governments and not in the best interest of the residents of Illinois. It is only though a robust, competitive marketplace that consumers will realize maximum value, terms and service levels. It’s not done by creating pseudo municipal monopolies.
In closing, we would like to publicly acknowledge and applaud the Villages of Schaumburg, Elk Grove, Inverness and Lake Barrington for rejecting this initiative and respecting the intelligence and free will of their residents by choosing not to hold a referendum on this issue.
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