Central & Southern Illinois  – Chambers of Commerce from Beardstown, Nashville and Union County will join an already unprecedented group of Chambers in Carbondale, Carterville, Centralia, Herrin, Jefferson County, Lawrence County, Marion, Murphysboro, Salem and West Frankfort.  All are joining efforts with Mount Vernon-based Affordable Gas & Electric, LLC (AGE), along with exclusive pricing retail energy supplier Ameren Energy Marketing in a group electricity buying group for members of the respective chambers.

Chamber leaders said the idea of businesses working together for a common good is at the heart of what their organizations are all about.

Joni Barwick, Director of Marion’s Chamber of Commerce, noted that all sized commercial customers—the core of most Chambers of Commerce—will gain bulk purchasing prowess.  Even larger industrial or institutional-type electricity users will benefit from joining this group purchase as they will be part of an even larger group purchase.  In turn, the impact of larger customers joining the pool insures that smaller sized chamber members will get the benefit of “large customer” electricity rates.

“Our last bulk purchase was backed by over 50,000,000 kwhs in the pool,” added Barwick.  “That gave us significant negotiating power for our members and is the reason we were able to secure phenomenal electricity rates for those who participated.”

Jeff Haarmann, managing partner of Affordable Gas & Electric added that hundreds of businesses already are participating in the program.

“Over 520 participating members of the current Chamber Electricity Buying Group program collectively are saving more than $2,500,000 annually or nearly 29 percent off last year’s commercial electricity supply rates. This enrollment period provides those who didn’t participate earlier this Spring, to now join in on the savings,” he said.

Ameren Energy Marketing will continue its exclusive partnership with the group, keeping with the idea of buying locally.  AEM, based in Collinsville, employs approximately 100 people in the region.  Haarmann noted that Ameren Energy Marketing continues to be the most competitively priced supplier represented by AGE and has reiterated their commitment to a “substantial rate offering” for this group.  As the exclusive pricing partner, AEM will be provided with the opportunity to present the best possible price available to the group.  AGE and its chamber partners  will determine if the proposed rate is within the anticipated range or if further negotiations need to be addressed with other retail suppliers.

Chamber members will find the program very easy to participate in, leaders added.  Most Chambers have a “button” on their websites that directs members to complete a downloadable registration form to be completed and sent in along with a copy of an Ameren utility bill.  The member will then receive confirmation that they have opted-in to the pricing pool.  Deadline for registering is Sept. 20, at which time the pool will close and the pricing process will begin.  With a new fixed electric rate secured, contracts will be sent to each participating member for execution.  New lower electric rates are anticipated to begin with October meter read dates.

If a Chamber’s website does not have a “button” or link to the registration, members are directed to www.agellc.com , where each participating member has a “button” that leads to the same registration documents.

More information regarding each specific Chamber of Commerce’s program is available from the chamber websites or by contacting the local chamber office.  Non-chamber members are encouraged to join the chamber for the opportunity to join this unprecedented electricity buying group.