DuQuoin, Pinckneyville get together to lower power costs

Rising power costs are a concern nowadays, but two communities are working to ease the burden on every family and business.

DuQuoin and Pinckneyville leaders are trying to take advantage of a new state law that allows a process called municipal electric aggregation. The goal is to group cities together to solicit bids for cheaper electric rates.

"With Ameren, we never had a choice," said Karen Jackson, owner of Jackson Pool and Spa. "They had a monopoly on us. Now we can shop other places."

Jackson says power bills have really cut into her bottom line. That's why she says on March 20, she'll be voting for a referendum to allow DuQuoin and Pinckneyville to pool their resources to hopefully cut her power bills by 15 to 20 percent.

"I would hope to save $75 to $100 a month, house and business combined," said Jackson. "That's $1200 a year. That's amazing."

DuQuoin Finance Commissioner Rex Duncan says power customers will still pay Ameren for infrastructure use (which he says adds up to about 25 percent of the monthly bill). But he says by seeking bids from other providers for the actual power running through Ameren's lines, the remaining 75 percent of the monthly bill could see substantial savings.

He says lower electric rates could offer DuQuoin an economic jolt.

"To be able to say our electric rates are 15-20% lower than maybe other surrounding communities that may make us more attractive," said Duncan.

Voters must approve a referendum on March 20 to allow the two communities to solicit bids on the communities' behalf.

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