Columbia energy rates to increase

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Columbia residents who participate in the city’s electricity aggregation program will see a significant price increase starting in early 2023.

Columbia City Administrator Doug Brimm announced at Monday’s Columbia City Council meeting the aggregation rate for electricity per kilowatt hour will jump from the current rate of 4.39 cents to 12.1 cents beginning in February.

Brimm estimated a nearly $800 increase annually for Columbia residents in the program.

“It will hurt a lot of people in the pocketbook,” Columbia Mayor Bob Hill added.

Columbia joined the electricity aggregation program in 2012 with the goal of providing lower costs to residents and business than the local carrier – which is Ameren in Columbia. 

The bargaining power with cooperation from a number of area municipalities such as Belleville, O’Fallon and Glen Carbon,  allows for longer-term contracts for electricity without the volatility of some monthly providers.

However, the municipal consortium was unable to secure an extension with Homefield Energy and have chosen Constellation Energy as its aggregate provider. 

The latest contract provides a fixed rate at 12.1 cents per KWh for 22 months beginning in February.

Brimm said the city is “not thrilled” with the increase, but is “happy for the stability” of a set rate. 

Since June 2019, the rate has remained at 4.39 cents per KWh while Ameren’s rate, according to Brimm, has changed 12 times in that period – from a low of 4.96 cents to a high of 12.236 cents.

For Columbia residents who wish to stay in the aggregation program, Brimm said no action is necessary, although customers will receive three mailings regarding the changeover. 

Since Ameren will be the provider for two months until the contract with Constellation begins, the letters will remind users of when current service ends and when the new providers begin service. 

Those who wish to opt out of the aggregation program should contact City Hall at 618-281-7144.

In other business, a bid for the Centerville Avenue Reconstruction Project was awarded to Hank’s Excavating and Landscaping Inc. in the amount of $311,321.50.

At the beginning of the meeting, the council recognized the work of  former Ward II Alderman Mark Roessler. An alderman since 2009, Roessler resigned his post Oct. 20.

Hill thanked Roessler for being an advocate for small businesses in Columbia.

 Roessler’s term expires in April 2023. Per state statute, Hill, pending council approval, has 60 days from the resignation date to appoint Roessler’s replacement.

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