As more towns look to take on the burdens of electricity deregulation, retail electricity providers have stepped up their efforts to encourage residents to search for lower electricity rates.

The HuntleyPatch notes that electricity providers like Spark Energy have started soliciting residents of Huntley, Illinois, in advance of the new aggregation program set to start up this June.

Some officials are concerned that residents could be encouraged the accept worse electricity prices, since they will not know what rate the town negotiates until this summer. The idea of electricity aggregation is to use buying power of groups to secure lower electricity rates.

However, with natural gas prices at their lowest levels in roughly a decade, residents might also be able to lock in lower electricity prices now than they would be able to find later this year.

In addition, some electricity providers allow customers to opt out at no cost. If residents are careful in choosing their electricity supplier, they could potentially lock-in a low electricity rate now and change later once the town price is announced.

PlugInIllinois reports that more than 411,000 Illinois residents have chosen to switch electricity providers, up from only a few thousand this time last year.