Members of the Vermilion County, Illinois Board of Review have placed a referendum on the ballot that would allow the Vermilion County Board to initiate an electrical aggregation program in Vermilion County. Under such a proposal, a third party that resells electricity produced by Ameren, the utility company that currently provides electricity to residents of Vermilion County, will negotiate utility rates with the Vermilion County Board. This deal is being pushed by Integrys Energy Group, a Fortune 500 corporation with deep lobbying influence. According to Public Campaign and Citizens for Tax Justice, two non-partisan political organizations, From 2008 to 2010, Integrys spent $710,000 on lobbying. During that same time frame, Integrys paid no corporate income taxes, in fact, receiving $92 million in tax rebates, despite making a $818 million profit. In 2010, Integrys paid their top 5 executives a total of $14.8 million.
Integrys Energy Group is acting in bad faith with the people of Vermilion County, Illinois. Integrys is already laying the ground work for a mail campaign in which Integrys operatives will mail flyers designed to mimic utility bills in which Integrys will tout savings of 20% to 30% on customers' electrical bills. If this referendum is approved by voters, Integrys will pull a bait and switch on the people of Vermilion County that will result in higher electrical bills for Vermilion County residents. Integrys wouldn't have offered big savings to the Vermilion County Board for electricity to power the Public Safety Building (i.e. Sheriff's office) without the intention of placing the burden on the residents of Vermilion County, and Integrys has every intention of selling snake oil to the people of Vermilion County in order to do so.
This will not be an easy campaign on my part. I am one citizen of Vermilion County, Illinois against a Fortune 500 company that bathes in its own greed. This is more than an uphill climb, this is a vertical climb with several edifices along the way.
If you are in Vermilion County, Illinois, vote NO on energy choice on November 6! If you know someone who is in Vermilion County, Illinois, contact them and tell them to vote NO on energy choice on November 6! Together, we can defeat corporate influence in local government!