“Once the technicality is worked out, we can see how to deal with the rest of it,” he added.
IPA Chief Legal Counsel Michael Strong said last week that in the agency’s interpretation of the law, the county’s authority through referendum only covers the unincorporated areas of the county.
In addition, for a municipality to become involved in electrical aggregation, the municipality’s governing body would have to pass its own ordinance and place it on the ballot as a referendum for an election vote, he said.
Under the aggregation program, the company buys electricity for large groups and thus receives a lower rate. It passes that lower rate along to the groups it represents.
The aggregation program, once approved, would include a fixed rate from Integrys and go into effect in January. The program would be an opt-out program, allowing people to formally indicate they do not want to take part, if they so choose.
One of the results of the referendum’s legal questions is the inclusion of the City of Danville in the program.
Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said he has received the conclusive legal opinion he hoped to have in regard to what areas the referendum covers.
However, he said late Monday that the city — given the opinions he has received — is fairly certain the county referendum applies only to the unincorporated areas of the county and not cities and municipalities.
Eisenhauer said he will now begin to prepare analysis to collect information on the city’s next options. He has said previously that the referendum passed in the City of Danville by nearly a 2-1 margin, 6,512 votes to 3,326 votes.
“It’s clear to me that the residents want electrical aggregation,” he said. “The question is how can we best provide that with the understanding that the original concept of a county-wide electrical aggregation program does not appear to be a feasible option.”