Residents of Valier are invited to attend an informational meeting about the electric aggregation referendum on the April 9 ballot.

The meeting will be at the Valier City Hall, 400 W. Main St., at 7 p.m. Monday, April 1.

Valier voters will decide in the April election whether to form a buyers group to seek lower cost electricity. A change in utility laws in 2010 allows Illinois residential and small business customers of regulated utilities to aggregate, or pool, their electric usage to pursue less expensive power supplies.

So far, approximately 500 communities have reduced costs by as much as 35 percent for 1.9 million electric customers in Illinois, according to the Illinois Commerce Commission website,

Reg Ankrom, a consultant with SIMEC, LLC, the firm assisting Valier with the electric aggregation initiative, will make a presentation and answer questions at the meeting.

An AmerenCIPS retiree, Ankrom and SIMEC have assisted several communities in organizing buyers groups pursuing lower electric supply costs.

Most recently the firm obtained a fixed rate of 4.194 cents per kilowatthour for 22 southern and central Illinois communities. The rate is approximately 23 percent less than AmerenIllinois’ current electric rate for general service customers.

Ankrom said people are not required to participate.

“Any residential or small business electric user will be able to decline to participate without penalty or fee,” he said.