How does the IEC continually offer less expensive energy supply? Due to the large volume of members (over 300 million kWh of electric power and 2.5 billion cubic feet of gas annually) that are served, IEC members benefit directly by increased purchasing leverage and efficiency. Our main goal is to help our members with energy budget savings and accuracy and help them avoid the volatile energy price spikes that the U.S. energy market has endured in the past. In turn, a district can have more dollars to put towards what is most important, the education of your students.

What is the role/benefit of the associations (Illinois ASBO, IASA and IASB) as sponsors? The three associations originally organized the IEC in 1997 as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation and as a statewide energy purchasing consortium and underwrote all the costs for its development. The IEC board, with nine directors who are IEC members, manages the finances of IEC, supports the marketing efforts of the IEC on a statewide basis, oversees all program administrator contracts, makes decisions regarding the expansion of the program, and plays a role in energy purchasing decisions. As sponsors, the associations receive annual royalties based on the effectiveness of the consortium and the costs required to operate the organization. This type of sponsorship helps keep association membership dues low and supports other association related activities, which in turn benefit their members and advance their respective missions.

What are the membership commitments? The IEC has a very simple and short membership agreement for each program (electric and natural gas). We typically request a three-year commitment to start. If you would like a shorter or longer term agreement, please let us know what your specific needs are and we will work with you to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement.
If I am a member and another consultant approaches us to give a quote, what should I do to make sure due diligence is applied? Contact your IEC account manager immediately for guidance. The IEC has an independent advisor available to all members so you do not need to bear the extra cost of hiring a consultant. We will review the information you share and provide you with an “apples-to-apples” comparison.  The energy field is populated with many consultants, but only the IEC can give you an independent, non-profit viewpoint.
What costs does IEC actually control?
The IEC was designed to help its members more effectively manage their energy costs, risk and usage. Our programs focus on the actual commodity cost of energy (natural gas and electric power), which is the largest share of your overall energy spend. The IEC will also review the other related costs, for example, to insure that you are on the correct utility transportation rate and that you are not being taxed incorrectly. We also provide information on grants that are available to help your facilities become more energy efficient, as the quickest way to lower your energy costs is to use less energy!

Will the IEC respond to an RFP? Yes, if you are obligated to issue a request for proposal (RFP) the IEC will respond in full. If you are an Illinois-based public school district, please remember that the Illinois statutes specifically state that public school districts are exempt from competitive bidding for electricity or natural gas under the Illinois School Code 105 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq (case No. 1-07-2041).

Why would I choose IEC over another provider, assuming price is equal? You are in good company. With over 30% of all Illinois public school districts and colleges as members, your board can feel comfortable that your energy purchasing strategies are on par with the other members in the state.

If you are making an energy supplier decision solely based on price, then that decision will be incorrect as your energy cost does not equal your energy price. Your energy cost is comprised of three components: price + usage all over the period of time required. The IEC looks at and takes into account all three energy costs components, which will provide you with your true energy cost. Additionally, we provide online natural gas usage and cost reporting, energy budget forecasts, user-friendly agreements, consolidated billing, superior account management, excellent customer service, extended payment terms and the power of being part of the largest not-for-profit statewide energy purchasing consortium sponsored and monitored for quality by Illinois ASBO, IASA and IASB.

How will my energy budget be protected from price volatility? The IEC board makes special consideration in their activities to help protect their member’s budgets from the type of price volatility that we have seen in past years. The purchasing strategy decisions that are made and the purchasing options that are available to the IEC members help with energy budget accuracy and therefore help them avoid volatile energy price spikes. To this end the IEC has enlisted an independent energy consultant to assist in strategic decision-making for managing purchasing decisions, in addition to the vast years of experience represented by the IEC board members. The independent energy consultant is available to answer questions that you may have as well, so your budget will not have to absorb the cost of hiring a consultant nor will you have to spend your valuable time looking for a consultant. In addition, since the associations organized the IEC to be a not-for-profit entity run by volunteer board members, there are no corporate salaries or profits or any other operational overhead not directly associated with the purchase of electricity or natural gas.

How do we make payment to the IEC as a member? The IEC has selected Program Administrators (PA) for both electric and natural gas. These PAs are the suppliers and will invoice and collect all monies related to your electric power and natural gas purchases through the IEC. This translates to an administrative savings as your Accounts Payable group will have fewer utility invoices to process and pay.

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