Over 280 cities, towns and counties in Illinois – out of a total of 300 – voted in favor of municipal electricity aggregation. But Bloomington and Normal decided against the proposal – 59% against in Bloomington and 55% against in Normal.
Municipal electricity aggregation allows a local government to bid for an electricity supplier, and negotiate over price, for residents of a locality. Individual residents would have the choice of opting out of the municipal pool and choosing their own supplier.
The vote against aggregation in Bloomington and Normal puts the two municipalities in the minority in central Illinois. Of surrounding communities, only El Paso, Danvers and Streator voted against the measure.
Local proponents of electricity aggregation pointed out that consumers would save money as a result, since municipalities would have more market power in securing lower rates for residents. Moreover, municipalities could choose clean sources of electricity over dirty coal. For the first time, electricity from wind power is cheaper than coal.
Activists in the right-wing Tea Party were vocal in their opposition to the municipal effort. Some oppose any governmental action in the electricity market. Many Tea Party leaders oppose any efforts to build an environmentally sustainable society.
Individuals in Bloomington and Normal still have the option of choosing Blue Star Energy as their electricity supplier, which supports clean renewable wind power. There will likely be opportunities for Bloomington and Normal residents to vote for electricity aggregation in the future.