The old franchise agreement was signed in 1962 with Illinois Power. The 50 year agreement expired this month.
City Administrator Eric Hanson said the utility provided the city with free electricity to operate traffic signals and with free natural gas. In return, the utility used the city's rights-of-way for its natural gas lines and power lines.
Hanson said changes to the utility industry in Illinois mean Ameren is no longer a supplier of energy. It is a distributor. The city will no longer receive free electricity and natural gas.
He said under the new 20 year agreement, Ameren will pay the city a lump sum each year. The city will have to pay for its electricity and natural gas consumption.
The payments will be nearly $90,000 a year. He said that will pay for the city's energy use and leave a small surplus.
Hanson said, “We have an infrastructure replacement fund. Any excess funds will go towards infrastructure improvements.”