Village of Divernon
Electricity Aggregation Program
Plan of Operation and Governance
Pursuant to Section 1-92 of the Illinois Power Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3855/1-92 (“Act”), the Village of Divernon is authorized to aggregate the electric loads of small commercial and residential customers located within its municipal boundaries (herein referred to as “municipal aggregation”). As part of the municipal aggregation, the Village of Divernon may select a retail electric supplier and enter into a service agreement to facilitate the purchase of electricity and related services and equipment on behalf of its residents and small businesses.
The Village seeks to collectively aggregate the retail electric loads of eligible residents and small commercial retail accounts and to solicit bids for the purchase of that electricity. The Village intends to solicit bids seeking various pricing options, contract terms, and options for increased volumes of renewable energy. Residential and small commercial retail customers often lack the resources to conduct due diligence and negotiate favorable terms with alternate retail electric suppliers on their own. With its large quantity of eligible electric accounts, the Village has the potential to attract lower rates than the current default tariff service rate, while also acquiring a cleaner power supply.
In accordance with the Act, on August 19, 2012, the Village approved Ordinance No. 2012-002, authorizing the placement of a referendum on the November 6, 2012 ballot, seeking authority to create an opt-out municipal aggregation program for its residents and small business customers. Voters approved the municipal aggregation referendum at the November 6, 2012 general election.
Prior to the passage of the referendum, the Village conducted public outreach and education related to municipal aggregation. The Village retained the services of a Consultant to assist with implementing the program, bidding, and selecting the electricity supplier. With the help of the Consultant and input from the public, the Village drafted this Plan of Operation and Governance containing the general provisions of the electric aggregation program.
The Village will not buy or resell power. Rather, the Village will competitively bid and negotiate a contract with a competent and licensed alternative retail electric supplier (ARES) to provide electric supply at contracted rates to residents and small businesses in the Village. The ARES shall provide accurate and understandable pricing and facilitate opt-out/in notifications. The ARES will also perform ancillary services for the Village participants as described in this Plan.
Because the Village adopted an opt-out aggregation program, all eligible customers located within the Village will participate in the Program unless they affirmatively elect to opt out of the Program. By identifying the procedures by which customers may opt-out/in of the Program, the Village ensures that participation is voluntary and individuals have the ability to decline to participate.
As required by law, this Plan of Operation and Governance describes the Village plan for:
1) Providing universal access to all applicable residential customers and equitable treatment of applicable residential customers;
2) Providing demand management and energy efficiency services to each class of customers; and
3) Meeting any other legal requirements concerning aggregated electric service.
The Village conducted a public outreach campaign to educate Village residents and small businesses about the Program, and to gather input regarding their preferences for the development of this Plan of Operation and Governance. Outreach efforts included two Village Council Study Sessions, two statutorily-required public hearings, press releases, and discussions with organizations and residents with a background in energy matters, and establishment of a website (www.powervotecu.com).
The Village, the Consultant, and the selected ARES will follow the Plan of Operation and Governance set forth in this document. Amendments to this Plan of Operation and Governance may be adopted in accordance with the Act at the option of the Village.
Whenever used in this Plan of Operation and Governance, the following terms shall have the meanings defined below, except where the context indicates otherwise.
- “14-Day Period” shall mean the time period during which eligible residents and small commercial retail customers are notified of their eligibility to participate in the Aggregation Program and provided instructions for opting out or in.
- “Act” shall refer to the Illinois Power Agency Act, 20 ILCS 3855/1-1 et seq.
- “Aggregation” or “Municipal Aggregation” shall mean the pooling of residential and small commercial retail electrical loads located within a municipality for the purpose of soliciting bids and entering into service agreements to facilitate for those loads the sale and purchase of electricity and related services and equipment, all in accordance with Section 1-92 of the Act.
- “Aggregation Consultant” or “Consultant” shall refer to Intelligent Power Partners LLC, the independent consultant with demonstrated expertise in electric supply contracting that has been retained by the Village to assist with the implementation of the Village’s Program.
- “Aggregation Member” or “Member” shall mean a residential or small commercial retail electric account enrolled in the Aggregation Program.
- “Aggregation Program” or “Program” shall mean the program developed by the Village of Divernon, to provide residential and small commercial customers in the Village with retail electric supply.
- “Alternative Retail Electric Supplier” or “ARES” shall mean an entity certified by the ICC to offer electric power or energy for sale to one or more retail customers, or that engages in the delivery or furnishing of electric power or energy to such retail customers, and shall include, without limitation, resellers, aggregators and power marketers, but shall not include the Electric Utility or the Aggregation Members. For purposes of this Plan, the definition of Alternative Retail Electric Supplier is more completely set forth in 220 ILCS 5/16-102.
- “Ameren Illinois” or “Ameren” shall mean the Ameren Illinois Utility Company, as the entity that has a franchise, license, permit or right to distribute, furnish or sell electricity to retail customers within the Village.
- “Ancillary Services” shall mean the necessary services that shall be provided in the generation and delivery of electricity. As defined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, "Ancillary Services" include, without limitation: coordination and scheduling services (load following, energy imbalance service, control of transmission congestion); automatic generation control (load frequency control and the economic dispatch of plants); contractual agreements (loss compensation service); and support of system integrity and security (reactive power, or spinning and operating reserves).
- “City” shall mean the Village of _Divernon, Illinois, a municipal corporation.
- “City Designee” shall mean the person (or persons) empowered by the Village through Ordinance to authorize and execute a contract price lock for electricity supply on behalf of the Village Council.
- “Default Tariff Service” or “Default Rate” shall mean the Ameren electricity supply rate set by the ICC, which is available to a class of eligible retail customers
- “Electric Utility” shall mean shall mean Ameren Illinois, as the entity that has a franchise, license, permit or right to distribute, furnish or sell electricity to retail customers within the Village.
- “Eligible Retail Customer” shall mean a residential and small commercial retail customer of the Utility within the Village limits of Divernon eligible to participate in the Aggregation Program.
- “ICC” shall mean the Illinois Commerce Commission as described in 220 ILCS 5/2-101.
- “IPA” shall mean the Illinois Power Agency as described in 20 ILCS 3855/1-1
- “Ineligible Retail Customer” shall mean residential and small commercial retail customers who are not eligible to participate in the Aggregation Program and who are not required to opt out during the 14-Day Period.
- “kWh” shall mean kilowatt-hour, which is the standard unit of measure of electricity consumed.
- “Load” shall mean the total demand for electric energy required to serve the residential and small commercial customers in the Aggregation Program.
- “Opt-In” shall mean the process by which an eligible residential or small commercial retail customer shall be afforded the opportunity to affirmatively choose to participate in the Aggregation Program during the initial 14-Day Period or after the initial switching process has occurred;
- “Opt-Out” shall mean the process by which a Member who would be included in the Aggregation Program chooses not to participate in the Aggregation Program.
- “PIPP” shall mean a Percentage of Income Payment Plan created by the Emergency Assistance Act, 305 ILCS 20-18, to provide a bill payment assistance program for low-income residential customers.
- “Plan of Operation and Governance” or “Plan” or “POG” shall mean the Aggregation Plan of Operation and Governance, to be adopted pursuant to the requirements set forth in Section 1-92 of the Act.
- “Power Supply Agreement” shall mean the Agreement between the Village and the selected ARES Vendor.
- “Proposer” shall mean an Alternative Retail Electric Supplier that responds to a Request for Proposals from the Village.
- “REC” shall mean shall mean duly certified and verified Renewable Energy Credits, as described in 20 ILCS 3855/1-10.
- “Request for Proposals” or “RFP” shall mean this written invitation to responsible ARES bidders to submit qualifications and pricing methods for electricity supply, services, and equipment to the Aggregation.
- “Small Commercial Retail Customer” shall mean those retail customers consuming 15,000 kWh’s or less annually, per 220 ILCS 5/16-102, provided, however, that the definition of Small Commercial Retail Customer shall include such other definition or description as may become required by law or tariff.
- “Switching Process” shall mean the process after the 14-Day Period has expired when Aggregation Members are switched to the selected Supplier’s electric supply.
III. ROLE OF THE Village
- Legal Compliance. The Village shall adopt: (1) an ordinance authorizing an opt-out electric aggregation program; and (2) this Plan of Operation and Governance. The Village shall be responsible for issuing all required public notices and conducting all required public hearings concerning this Plan, and any amendments thereto, in accordance with Section 1-92 of the Act.
- Identification of Customers. After passage of the Municipal Electricity Aggregation Referendum, the Village Manager shall submit a request to Ameren requesting the identification of retail and small commercial electric customer account information and generic load profiles.
- Confidentiality. The Village will maintain the customer information it receives from Ameren in a confidential manner as required by the Act and will use that information only for purposes of its Aggregation Program. The Village may assign access to the customer information to the Consultant for the purposes of soliciting supply and service bids on behalf of the Village. The Consultant is bound by confidentiality requirements in this regard, and shall only access and utilize consumer data at the direction of the Village. Customer account information will be considered confidential and will not be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, except as required by law.
- List Review. The Village, in cooperation with the Consultant, will review the customer list to remove ineligible customers, provided however, that the Village shall have no responsibility to potential aggregation members or the ARES for the accuracy of the customer account information provided. The Village shall be responsible for providing the Consultant and ARES with resources and publicly available material to screen out customers who are not located within the municipal boundaries.
- RFP Development. The Village, in cooperation with the Consultant, shall develop an RFP in accordance with the terms set forth in this document. The Village will inform the potential proposers in the RFP document of the Village’s generic load profile information as provided by Ameren.
- Action on RFP. The Village shall receive and evaluate proposals and contract with any ARES who the Village Council finds to be in the best interest of the Village’s residents and small commercial retail customers. The Village is under no obligation to enter into any service agreement with any ARES and may, in its discretion, choose to reject all proposals or to conduct a new proposal request to provide the electric service under the same or amended terms of this Plan.
- Notification Materials. The Village shall assist the ARES in drafting customer notification materials during the switching and opt-out process. The Village shall specify the form and content of such materials, and all communications disseminated by the ARES to residents and small businesses during the opt-out process must be approved by the Village.
- No Responsibility for Electric Supply. The Village, as the facilitator of the RFP process, is not responsible for providing electricity to the members of the Aggregation Program, or for billing or collecting for electricity provided under any ARES power supply agreement, and has no responsibility beyond the duties described herein. Ameren will continue to provide a single bill to Aggregation Members for all electrical charges.
- Expenditure by Village Recoverable. The Village shall implement and offer the Aggregation Program as a service to its residents and small commercial retail customers. The Program shall be revenue-neutral. The Village shall be reimbursed for expenditures related to the Aggregation Program by the ARES in the form of payment specified in the RFP and Power Supply Agreement. All Village Aggregation Program expenditures shall be disclosed to aggregation members.
- Code of Conduct. The Consultant will comply with the code of conduct requirements of the Electric Service Customer Choice and Relief Act, 220 ILCS 5/16-115C.
- Duties. The Consultant shall advise and assist the Village with the development and implementation of its Aggregation Program, including developing all necessary documents, reviewing the eligible customer list, drafting electricity RFPs, soliciting and reviewing bids received, making recommendations as appropriate.
- Required Independence and Disclosures. As required by the Electric Service Customer Choice and Relief Act, the Consultant will be in a fiduciary relationship with the Village and owes the Village and its Aggregation Members the duty of loyalty and independent judgment. The Consultant will be disqualified if it acts as the agent for any ICC certified ARES. It is the duty of the Consultant to disclose any such relationships in writing to the Village Manager. Breach of these terms will result in the Village terminating the Consultant Agreement.
- Fee. The Consultant shall be paid directly by the Village. Any fee paid to the Consultant shall be for work performed in developing and implementing the Village’s Aggregation Program.
- Confidentiality. The Village, upon receiving confidential customer information from Ameren Illinois, shall be subject to the limitations on the disclosure of that information described in Section 2HH of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, 815 ILCS 505/2HH. If the Consultant has access to confidential customer account information at any time, the Consultant agrees not to use that information for any purposes outside the scope of the services provided by this Agreement. The Consultant specifically agrees not to use for itself, or to sell, trade, disseminate or otherwise transfer that information to any other party for any purpose other than this Aggregation Program. The Village will not be liable for any use of confidential information by the Consultant that violates the law or this agreement.
Aggregation Members shall continue to receive one electric bill and make payments to Ameren. The ARES shall be responsible for complying with the following bill format and collection procedures:
- Billing Method. The ARES will utilize the Utility Consolidated Billing/Purchase of Receivables (UCB/POR) billing method. Under this method, Ameren shall prepare the bill for both Ameren’s electric delivery charges and the ARES electric supply charges and mail one bill to the customer. Ameren shall purchase the electric supply charges from the ARES on the bill due date and treat those receivables as its own for credit purposes. Ameren shall retain the ability to disconnect for customer non-payment of ARES electric supply charges.
- Collection. Collection and credit procedures shall remain the responsibility of Ameren, the selected ARES, and the individual Aggregation Member. Members are required to remit and comply with the payment terms of Ameren. The Village will not be responsible for late payment or non-payment of any Member Accounts. Slow or no payment on the part of some Members will not adversely impact the rates charged to other Members.
VI. RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The Aggregation Program shall promote sustainability by seeking an electric supply with renewable energy sources in excess of state minimum standards. To achieve this goal, the Village shall require ARES proposers to submit price quotes for energy mixes with increasing percentages of renewable energy sources. Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) may be sourced from registered hydro, wind, solar, or captured methane-landfill gas.
- Power Mix. The Village shall require Bidders quote rates for the following energy mixes:
- Lowest Price Mix. The lowest priced electricity supply available from the ARES using, at a minimum, renewable energy consistent with the Renewable Portfolio Standard required by law. Between comparable offers, the Village will give preference to any bidder that provides all its power from sources other than coal.
- Enhanced Renewable Energy Mix. Electricity supply where non-renewable sourced supply is offset by Renewable Energy Credits.
- 25% Renewable – REC Supported Mix. Electricity where any non-renewable sources are offset at least 25% but less than 50% by RECs.
- 50% Renewable – REC Supported Mix. Electricity where any non-renewable sources are offset at least 50% but less than 75% by RECs.
- 75% Renewable – REC Supported Mix. Electricity where any non-renewable sources are offset at least 75% but less than 100% by RECs.
- 100% Renewable - REC Supported Mix. Electricity where any non-renewable sources are offset 100% by RECs.
- Rate Selection. The Village Council shall be responsible for choosing the energy mix and corresponding rate which it deems to be in the best interest of the Aggregation Members. The Council may elect to allow customers to choose to select the lowest rate or a higher rate with additional RECs.
- Energy Efficiency and Demand Management. In the near term, the Village will direct Participants to access the energy efficiency and demand management programs developed and offered from Ameren. Within six (6) months, the Village will review additional energy efficiency and demand management program options. New program options will be included in this Plan by amendment by the Village Council.
- Eligible Opt-Out Customers. The Village is using an Opt-Out form of Governmental Aggregation pursuant to 20 ILCS 3855/1-92. The Village shall only enter a Power Supply Service Agreement with a Supplier offering an electric rate lower than the Ameren Default Rate. Customers on the Default Rate shall be automatically included in the Aggregation Program unless they positively indicate their desire to opt out of the Program during the opt-out period.
- Eligible Opt-In Customers. Customers not on the Default Rate cannot be guaranteed savings through the Aggregation Program and shall not be automatically enrolled in the Program.. However, such customers may elect to become Aggregation Members by contacting the Village or the selected ARES Supplier. Such customers shall include:
- Ameren customers on Power Smart Pricing, Hourly Supply Service, or Real Time Pricing,
- Customers under contract with a Retail Electric Supplier, and
- Ameren electric heat customers.
- Ineligible Customers. Residents and small businesses will be ineligible to become Aggregation Members if:
- The customer is not located within the Village;
- The customer has free Ameren service;
- The customer is on an Ameren bundled hold.
Ineligible customers will not be notified during the Opt-Out Period and shall not be required to opt-out.
- Mistake. Any customer who believes an eligibility mistake has occurred during or after the Opt-Out Period shall have the responsibility to report the suspected error to the Village or the ARES. The Village shall make every effort to correct errors during the enrollment process, and the ARES shall accommodate such corrections. In the event a customer not located within the Village becomes enrolled in the Program, such Member shall be terminated if the error is subsequently discovered. The Village shall not be responsible for loss of savings to a Member due to mistaken exclusion from the Aggregation Program.
- Universal Access. The Village, Consultant, and ARES Supplier shall determine initial eligibility for the Program based on customer information provided by Ameren. The Aggregation Program shall provide universal access to all applicable residential customers. All eligible residential customers may opt-in to the Aggregation Program at any time by contacting the selected ARES supplier. Utility rules approved by the ICC or other regulatory agencies may determine eligibility to enroll in the Program.
VIII. POWER SUPPLY SERVICE AGREEMENT
The Village, at its option, will execute a Power Supply Service Agreement with the selected ARES, in accordance with the following:
- Term. The Village’s first Power Supply Service Agreement (“Agreement”) shall be for a minimum of a one-year period. If the agreement is longer than one year, the ARES must agree to comply with the rate provisions in subsection B. If the first Power Supply Agreement is extended or renewed, the Consultant will notify the Village of changes in the rules of the ICC and IPA that require changes in rates or service conditions. The Village will have the discretion to set the length of any subsequent contract term. In the event the Village extends or renews the Power Supply Agreement, the ARES shall conduct a new opt-out process wherein Members must be notified of any modifications to the rate, fees or other charges associated with the Program.
- Rate. The Agreement shall specify the approved rates and the power mix for the Program and any other charges or fees. The Village shall only approve a Power Supply Agreement if the Supplier’s rate is less than the Ameren Default Rate. If the Ameren Default Rate is subsequently set below the rate established in the Agreement, the Supplier at its option may establish a rate equal to Ameren or terminate the Agreement and return affected customers to Ameren.
- Supply of Power. The Supplier shall supply electricity for the Program that includes: (1) the minimum renewable energy resources required by the State of Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard; and (2) electricity that exceeds the current renewable energy resource requirements of the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard by securing RECs sourced through PJM-registered hydroelectric, wind, solar, photovoltaic, or captured methane-landfill gas.
- Compliance with RFP Requirements. The agreement shall require the ARES to maintain all qualifications required by law or ICC regulation, and to provide all services required pursuant to the Power Supply Agreement.
- Compliance with Plan. The Agreement shall require the ARES to provide all services in compliance with this Plan, as may be amended. Specifically, and without limitation of the foregoing, the ARES shall provide the Village with such reports and information as required in this Plan.
- Non-Competition. The ARES must agree not to solicit or contract directly with eligible Aggregation Program members for service or rates outside the Aggregation Program, and agrees not to use the member information for any other marketing purposes.
- Hold Harmless. The ARES must agree to hold the Village financially harmless from any and all financial obligations arising out of its role as facilitator of the municipal aggregation.
- Insurance. The selected Supplier shall obtain and maintain, for the duration of the Power Supply Agreement, such proof of insurance and performance security as the Village deems necessary.
- Additional Services. The Agreement may provide that the ARES will assist the Village in developing a Member Education Plan as described in the Agreement. The Agreement may provide that the ARES will assist the Village in developing Energy Efficiency and/or Demand Response programs. The Agreement will not preclude the Village from developing its own Member Education, Energy Efficiency, and Demand Response programs.
- Fees and Charges:
- Additional Fees Prohibited. Neither the Village nor the ARES will impose any terms, conditions, fees, or charges on any Member served by the Program unless the particular term, condition, fee, or charge is: (a) identified in this Plan; and (b) clearly disclosed to the Member at the time the Member enrolls in, or chooses not to opt out of, the Program.
- Billing. Ameren will continue to bill for Late Payments, Delivery Charges, and Monthly Service Fee, and any other charges.These charges apply whether or not a Member switches to the ARES.
- Prohibited Charges. The ARES shall not charge termination, enrollment, or switching fees.
- Costs. All costs of the aggregation program development and administration will be paid by the ARES through a lump sum payment as specified in the RFP and Power Supply Agreement.
- Termination of Service.
- End of Term. The Power Supply Agreement with the ARES will terminate upon its expiration.
- Early Termination. The Village will have the right to terminate the Service Agreement prior to the expiration of the term in the event the ARES commits any act of default. Acts of default include but are not limited to the following:
- Breach of confidentiality regarding Member information;
- The disqualification of the ARES to perform the services due to the lapse or revocation of any required license or certification identified as a qualification in the Supply Power Bid;
- Ameren’s termination of its relationship with the ARES;
- Any act or omission which constitutes deception by affirmative statement or practice, or by omission, fraud, misrepresentation, or a bad faith practice;
- Billing in excess of the approved rates and charges;
- Billing or attempting to collect any charge other than the approved kWh rates and contractually approved charges; or
- Failure to perform at a minimum level of customer service required by the Village.
- Failure to pay costs of the Aggregation Program.
Upon termination for any reason, the Village will notify Ameren to return the Aggregation Members to the Ameren Default Tariff Service. Upon termination, each individual Member will receive written notification from the Village of the termination of the Program.
- Customer Identification. Pursuant to ICC regulations, Ameren shall provide the Village, when requested, with retail customer identification information.
- Removal of Ineligible Customers. After selecting and contracting with an ARES, the Village, with the assistance of the Consultant, under confidential agreement with the ARES, will work with the ARES to remove any customers determined to be ineligible for automatic enrollment due to one or more of the following:
- The customer is an hourly rate Ameren customer on Power Smart Pricing, Hourly Supply Service, or Real Time Pricing; or
- The customer has a pre-existing agreement with another ARES.
- The customer is not located within the Village;
- The customer has free Ameren service;
- The customer is on Ameren’s electric heat rate;
- The customer is on an Ameren bundled hold.
The Retail Customer Identification Information will remain the property of the Village, and the ARES will comply with the confidentiality and non-compete provisions in the Service Agreement.
- Opt-Out Notices. After the Retail Customer Identification Information is reviewed, the ARES will mail the Opt-Out Notices described below to all opt-out eligible account holders within the boundaries of the Village. The ARES shall treat all customers equally and shall not deny service to any customer in the Aggregation, or alter rates for different classes of customers other than by offering the rates set forth in the Service Agreement.
- Maintenance of Accurate and Secure Customer Records.
- Database. The ARES will maintain a secure database of Customer Account Information. The database will include the Ameren account number, and ARES account number of each active Member, and other pertinent information such as rate code, rider code (if applicable), and usage and demand history. The database will be updated on an ongoing basis. The Village shall have access to the database and shall recover the contents thereof after expiration of a Power Supply Agreement at no cost to the Village.
- Confidentiality. The ARES shall preserve the confidentiality of all Aggregation Members’ account information and of the database, and shall agree to adopt and follow protocols to preserve that confidentiality. The protocols shall be provided to the Village prior to entering into a Power Supply Agreement. The ARES, as a material condition of any contract, shall not disclose, use, sell or provide customer account information to any person, firm or entity for any purpose outside the operation of this Municipal Aggregation Program. This provision will survive the termination of the agreement. The ARES will keep Customer Account Information for a minimum of two years following the termination of the Service Agreement. The Consultant shall periodically monitor the ARES to ensure confidentiality compliance.
- Opt-Out Period. Opt-out eligible customers will be provided a 14-Day Period to opt out of the Aggregation Program upon receiving Notice of eligibility. Any opt-out eligible electric account that opts out of the Program pursuant to the procedures stated below shall not be included in the Aggregation Program. Any opt-in eligible electric account may contact the Village or the Supplier during the Opt-Out Period to participate in the Program but shall not otherwise be enrolled.
- Manner of Providing Notices and Information. The ARES will be required to pay for printing and mailing of all Aggregation and Opt-Out Notices on Village envelope and letterhead. The ARES will mail Aggregation and Opt-Out Notices to the eligible account holders within the boundaries of the Village at the address provided with the Retail Customer Identification Information provided by Ameren. The ARES must manage the Opt-Out Notice process under the supervision of the Village and the Consultant. A single database must be used to track account enrollment and billing data.
- Content of Notice. The Village and the ARES will agree to the format and contents of the Aggregation and Opt-Out Notice prior to distribution or mailing. The Notice will inform the electric account owner of the existence of the Aggregation Program, the identity of the ARES, the rates to be charged, and how to opt out. The Notice will also inform PIPP customers of the consequences of participating in the Aggregation Program. The Notice shall indicate that it is from the Village, and include the Village name and logo on the envelope. The Notice shall be signed by a duly-authorized representative of the Village.
- Duration of Opt-Out Period. Aggregation Members shall have 14 calendar days from the postmark date on the notice to mail the Opt-Out card back to the ARES stating their intention to opt-out. The ARES may offer additional means of opting out or in, such as a toll-free number, website, smart device quick response code, email address or fax number, each of which must be received within the 14-Day Period. Upon receipt of an opt-out reply, the ARES will remove the account from the Aggregation Program. The time to respond shall be calculated based on the postmark date of the notice to the customer and the postmark date of the customer’s response.
- Expiration of Opt-Out Period. After the expiration of the 14-Day Period, the Member list shall become final. The Supply Agreement may provide that additional opt-out periods may be conducted by the ARES to enroll new residents from time to time.
- Omitted Members. In the event that an eligible Aggregation Member is inadvertently not sent an Opt-Out Notice, or is inadvertently omitted from the Program, the ARES will work with the Village and the Member to ensure that the Member’s decision to remain in or opt-out of the Program is properly recorded and implemented by the ARES.
- Notification to Ameren. After the Opt-Out Period has expired, the ARES shall submit the account numbers of participating Aggregation Members to Ameren and the rate to be charged to those members pursuant to the Service Agreement. The ARES will provide that information to Ameren in the format Ameren requires.
- Option to Rescind. Ameren will then notify members that they have been switched to the ARES and provide the member with the name and contact information of the ARES. Members will have the option to rescind their participation in the program according to procedures established by Ameren and the ARES.
- Activation of Service. Upon notification to Ameren, the ARES will begin to provide electric power supply to the members of the Aggregation Program. The service will begin on the Member’s normal meter read date within a month when power deliveries begin under the Aggregation Program.
- Subsequent Program Pricing. The Village will eventually seek new pricing for the Program. If new pricing is established for the Program, all residential and small commercial accounts will be sent a new Opt-Out Notice on Village letterhead. The letter will convey the prices, terms and conditions for the Program. Customers will have a 14-Day period during which they can notify the Village that they do not wish to participate in the Program.
- New Accounts. The ARES must facilitate the addition of new member accounts to the Aggregation Program during the term of the Service Agreement. Members wishing to opt‐in to the Aggregation Program may contact the ARES to obtain enrollment information. The ARES will make every effort to provide new customers with the same pricing available to initial enrollees, however such pricing cannot be guaranteed. The ARES shall clearly state the rate to be charged for new accounts prior to enrollment.
- Off-Cycle Account Additions. The Village will request from Ameren on a quarterly basis a listing of all active accounts located within the Village boundaries. The Village and the Consultant will identify the accounts on that list that have been added since the Initial Opt-Out Notifications were issued. The ARES may elect to initiate an additional opt-out process to enroll such new accounts. Those new accounts will be sent an Opt-Out letter on Village letterhead. The letter will convey the prices, terms and conditions for those accounts through the Program. The prices available to the new accounts may differ from the prices secured for the Initial Program Period. New customers will have a 14- Day period during which they can notify the Village that they do not wish to participate in the Program. New accounts will be included in any subsequent Program-wide pricing offers.
- Re-Joining the Aggregation Group. After opting out, eligible customers may rejoin the Program at a later date in the same manner as new residents moving into the Village. These Members may contact the ARES at any time to obtain enrollment information.
- Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) participation. The ARES must facilitate billing for residents enrolled in the PIPP bill payment assistance program for low-income residential customers. The ARES must also notify PIPP customers of the consequences of participating in the Aggregation.
- Change of Address. Members who move from one location to another within the corporate limits of the Village prior to the expiration of the contract term shall retain their participant status, provided the Member notifies the Supplier of their desire to do so with 30 days notice. If the Member fails to notify the Supplier, the Member may be required to contact the Supplier to opt in.
The ARES will establish procedures and protocols to work with Ameren on an ongoing basis to add, delete, or change any member participation or rate information.
- Member Services:
- Program Management and Documentation. The ARES must have standard operating procedures in place that govern Member education, opt-out notification, Member inquiries, and public outreach regarding the Aggregation Program.
- Member Inquiries.
- Procedures for Handling Customer Complaints and Dispute Resolution. Concerns regarding service reliability should be directed to Ameren, billing questions should be directed to Ameren or the ARES, and any unresolved disputes should be directed to the ICC.
- Telephone Inquiries. The ARES must maintain a local or toll-free telephone access line which will be available to Aggregation Members 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained company representatives will be available to respond to customer telephone inquiries during normal business hours. After normal business hours, the access line may be answered by a service or an automated response system, including an answering machine. Inquiries received after normal business hours must be responded to by a trained company representative on the next business day. Under normal operating conditions, telephone answer times by a customer representative, including wait time, shall not exceed 30 seconds when the connection is made. If the call needs to be transferred, transfer time shall not exceed 30 seconds. These standards shall be met no less than 90 percent of the time under normal operating conditions, measured on a quarterly basis.
- Internet and Email. The ARES must establish and maintain a website for the Aggregation Members. The website will provide basic information concerning the Aggregation program and will facilitate member inquiries by providing a platform for the submission of questions by email or text. Responses to inquiries submitted through the website platform must be generated within 24 hours.
- Bilingual Services. The ARES must provide customer service for Members requiring non-English verbal and written assistance.
- Hearing Impaired. The ARES must provide customer service for hearing impaired Members.
- Other disclosures. The ARES will provide the Aggregation Members with updates and disclosures mandated by ICC and IPA rules.
- Billing and Fees. The ARES will not charge early termination, enrollment, or relocating fees.
- Collection and credit procedures remain the responsibility of Ameren and the individual Aggregation Member. Members are required to remit and comply with the payment terms of Ameren. The Village will not be responsible for late payment or non-payment of any Member accounts. Neither the Village nor the ARES shall have separate credit or deposit policies for Members.
- Early Termination. Members may terminate service from the ARES without penalty for any reason.
- New Enrollment Fee. The ARES will not charge an enrollment fee for new members.
- Relocating Within the Village. Members changing residency within the Village will not be charged early termination or enrollment fees. If such members notify the ARES of the relocation within 30 days, the ARES shall continue service at the same rate and under the same terms and conditions for any Member who relocates within the Village.
- Reliability of Power Supply: The Program will only affect the generation source of power. Ameren will continue to deliver power through their transmission and distribution systems. Responsibility for maintaining system reliability continues to rest with Ameren.If Members have service reliability problems, they should contact Ameren for repairs. The ICC has established “Minimum Reliability Standards” for all utilities operating distribution systems in Illinois. Member outages, duration of outages, interruptions, etc., are monitored to ensure reliability remains at satisfactory levels. In addition to maintaining the “wires” system, Ameren is required to be the “Provider of Last Resort.”This means that if the ARES fails for any reason to deliver any or all of the electricity needed to serve the Members’ needs, Ameren will immediately provide for the shortfall. Ameren would then bill the ARES for the power provided on their behalf.The Members would incur no additional cost.
- Member Education. The Village may direct the ARES to assist in developing a Member Education Plan.
- Reporting. The ARES will provide to the Village and to the Consultant the following reports:
- Power Mix Reporting. The ARES will deliver quarterly reports to the Village and the Consultant which substantiate that: (a) it generated or purchased electricity with the claimed attributes in amounts sufficient to match actual consumption by the Village; (b) the electricity was supplied to the interconnected grid serving the Village. The report will show the source of the power and demonstrate that the power was provided in accordance with Renewable Portfolio Standards and the Federal Clean Air Act regulations and permits.
- REC Reporting. The ARES will deliver reports that provide competent and reliable evidence to support the fact that it purchased properly certified RECs in a sufficient quantity to offset the non-renewable energy provided in the mix.
- Aggregation Reports. The ARES will provide the Village with quarterly reports showing the number of Members participating in the Aggregation Program and the total cost for energy provided to the Aggregation as compared to the Ameren default tariff service rates. In addition, the ARES will report its efforts at member education.
- Limitation of Liability. The Village shall not be liable to Aggregation Members for any claims, however styled, arising out of the Aggregation Program or out of any Village act or omission in facilitating the Aggregation Program.
This Plan can be reviewed on the Village’s website www.divernonil.com. Copies of this Plan are available from the Village free of charge; please contact the Village of Divernon Public Works Department. For more information, please call the Divernon Village Hall at 217-628-3416. Any electric customer, including any participant in the Village’s Aggregation Program, may contact the Illinois Commerce Commission for information, or to make a complaint against the Program, the ARES or Ameren. The ICC may be reached toll free at 217-782-5793.
This Plan may be amended from time to time by the Village Manager of the Village upon recommendation by the Director of Public Works. Such amendment shall be sent to the Village Council within 7 days after the approval by the Village Manager. Such amendment shall be provided to the ARES Supplier and Consultant prior to its effective date.
Attachment B: Newspaper notices of Plan review hearings