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CHAMBER COLUMN: Chamber Energy Program still going strong
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CHAMBER COLUMN: Chamber Energy Program still going strong

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Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce's Energy Savings Program is still going strong with 75 participating members. A partnership between the Chamber and The Stone River Group started in 2011. The Stone River Group is an Illinois-based energy consulting firm that was founded in 2009. Chamber members from 2011 to 2015 saw a total savings of $350,000 or an average of 22.5 percent for each business. In 2017 Chamber members saved $51,561 or 17 percent off default electric supply rates. In addition, when members sign up for natural gas accounts, they save an automatic 26 percent from default delivery rates. Our members also have seen an average of 11 percent savings over the last three years on natural gas supply rates.

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Illinois Customers that have their electric service with Ameren or ComEd, and natural gas service with Ameren or NICOR, have the ability to choose who supplies their electric or natural gas. This option is referred to as customer choice. Since the program started in 2007 businesses in Illinois have saved over $37,000,000,000 over utility default rates. The purpose of the partnership with The Stone River Group is to ensure that every member of the Chamber has the opportunity to save money on their utilities. Small business owners have several responsibilities; shopping for the best utility rates should not be one of them. As the program has grown over the last 8 years, more members have joined which has allowed The Stone River Group to have more negotiating power with energy suppliers, thus offering the best possible price to all Chamber members.

Savings Example: A business uses 100,000 kWh annually. Annual supply cost with Ameren: $5,230. Annual supply cost negotiated by The Stone River Group: $4,856. Annual savings of $500.

The Chamber is getting ready to renew electric supply contracts that end in 2020. Members who are not part of the energy saving program can join any time no matter the status of any of their current contracts. While The Stone River Group is helping businesses save money on their electric supply, they are signing businesses for natural gas savings as well.

For questions about the program or to sign-up please contact Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce at 217-345-7011 or visit our website at http://www.thestonerivergroup.com/chamber-signup/

Jessica Meadows is president and CEO for the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce.

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