(800) 669-5556


CUB Q&A: Peoria’s Power Deal

Ameren Illinois is the electric utility that serves Central and Southern Illinois. But while Ameren will always deliver the power to your home over its wires, under state law you can choose an alternative company to supply you with electricity. (That means a company other than Ameren will purchase electricity on your behalf and charge you for it on the supply section of your Ameren bill.) 

Peoria-area residents have called CUB about letters they’ve received detailing a new offer negotiated between Peoria governmental leaders and an alternative supplier named Energy Harbor. Important: You will be automatically signed up for this offer unless you opt-out by the June deadline listed on your letter. (CUB has seen two opt-out deadlines: June 23 and June 26, depending on the letter you get.)

What is the new deal that Peoria leaders have negotiated?
In March 2012, Peoria-area residents passed a “community aggregation” referendum that allowed local officials to seek bids from alternative suppliers to purchase electricity on behalf of residents. (Aggregation is when community leaders negotiate with an alternative supplier to set a price of electricity for residents of that community.) 

For years, Peoria officials chose an alternative supplier called Homefield Energy. But the aggregation program was paused last year because high energy prices made it difficult to find reasonable pricing among suppliers. 

This year, the City of Peoria and Peoria County chose Energy Harbor to be the supplier for residents who don’t opt out of the program. The new deal runs from July 2023 through December 2025. Here’s the pricing:   

July 2023-July 2024: 9.95 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh)
[9.84 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) + a 0.106 cents per kWh capacity charge]

August 2024-July 2025: Unknown
[9.84 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) PLUS a per kWh capacity charge that is not yet known]  

August 2025-December 2025: Unknown
[9.84 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) PLUS a per kWh capacity charge that is not yet known]  

How does this price compare to Ameren Illinois’ supply price?
It’s impossible to know how the Energy Harbor offer will compare with Ameren Illinois’ supply price in the future. But we can compare the two residential supply prices this summer: 

Energy Harbor: 9.95 cents per kWh*

Ameren Illinois: 7.877 cents per kWh (Note: This is Ameren’s residential price. Energy Harbor says Ameren’s small-business price is 9.645 cents per kWh.)

*Energy Harbor’s supply price is about 26 percent higher than Ameren Illinois’ supply price through September. That means with Energy Harbor you would pay roughly $1.75-$2 more for every 100 kWh of electricity you use this summer. We don’t know exactly what Ameren’s price will be on Oct. 1. 

Will I save by switching to Energy Harbor?
While we don’t know how Energy Harbor’s offer will compare with Ameren Illinois’ price after Oct. 1, we do know that the alternative supplier offer is about 26 percent higher than Ameren’s summer supply rate through September. So you will pay more with the Energy Harbor aggregation offer this summer. 

By going with Energy Harbor, you are betting that in the future Ameren’s supply price will go higher than Energy Harbor’s price. That may or may not be a good bet. The company itself states that “savings is not guaranteed” with a fixed price offer like this.

Do I have to go with the Peoria community aggregation offer?
No. You can opt out of the Peoria aggregation offer with Energy Harbor by doing one of these three things by the opt-out deadline on your letter: 

  1. Mail in the opt-out form enclosed with the notification you receive.
  2. Contact Energy Harbor’s call center at 1-877-793-8921 (Monday – Friday, 7 am to 4 pm).
  3. Fill out this online Opt-Out Form that requires a “personalized opt-out code” from the notification letter.

What if I don’t opt out by the June deadline on my letter?
Ameren will send you a letter confirming your switch. You may rescind the agreement by contacting Energy Harbor or Ameren Illinois within 10 calendar days after the date on the notice that Ameren sends you. 

If you do get switched to Energy Harbor, you should be able to exit the offer at any time without paying an exit fee by calling the supplier at 1-866-636-3749. However, the process of exiting the offer and going back to Ameren Illinois can take up to two months–and during that time you will pay the Energy Harbor rate.

If I opt out and then change my mind, how do I opt back in?
According to a Q&A on Peoria County’s website:

  • If you opt out before the June deadline on your letter and then change your mind, you may opt back in at any time without penalty.
  • If you opt out after the June deadline on your letter, then you must wait a full 12 months before you are eligible to opt back into the program.

How can I confirm who my supplier is this summer?
Read your bill carefully. If after July 1, your bill lists Energy Harbor on the supply section of your bill, you have been switched to the aggregation offer. If, after July 1, the supply section of your bill lists Ameren Illinois as your supplier then you are not part of the aggregation offer. 

Other helpful questions:
So what are all my choices for electricity supply?

  1. You can stay with Ameren Illinois for your electricity supply.
  2. You can go with the community aggregation offer with the alternative supplier Energy Harbor. 
  3. You can go with another alternative supplier that markets you individually, door-to-door, over the phone or via mail. 
  4. You can go with other alternatives: Community Solar or Ameren’s hourly pricing program (Power Smart Pricing). Also, people with solar panels at their homes will not be automatically enrolled in the municipal aggregation program. 

Is Peoria County getting any money from Energy Harbor?
The Peoria Journal Star quotes a county official who says a “municipal electric fee” goes to the county: “We’ve had some question about that and I think it is important to know that, yes, Peoria government is getting some money from Energy Harbor — but it is not coming from your pocket and my pocket as individual consumers.”

Are there any customers NOT eligible to take part in the Energy Harbor offer?
Yes. According to Energy Harbor’s Frequently Asked Questions, these customers cannot participate: 

  • Customers who do NOT live in Peoria, or the surrounding Peoria County communities participating in the aggregation offer. 
  • Small businesses with usage greater than 15,000 kWh. 
  • Community solar participants. 
  • Customers participating in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) or Customer Assistance Programs (CAP).

Also, to the extent they can be identified, customers who are behind on payments to the utility will be excluded or declined enrollment into the community aggregation program.

Customers already with an alternative supplier are not eligible for automatic enrollment but can join at any time if they meet all eligibility requirements. 

Customers on a special arrangement with the utility, such as solar customers participating in net-metering, or real-time pricing customers (such as Ameren’s Power Smart Pricing program) are not automatically included in the municipal aggregation offer.