The Jefferson County Services Committee recently announced it had urged the full board to begin looking for a retail electricity supplier, the Mt. Vernon Register News reports.

The board heard from Rob Wielt and Jeff Haarmann of Affordable Gas and Electric, who stated that as the price of electricity goes down, it may not be advisable to sign a three-year contract with a power company, and that its residents could probably find lower rates eventually.

"The bottom line is that your current buildings are on Ameren’s rack rate," he said, adding that Ameren encourages its customers to switch between retail electricity suppliers.

By switching, Haarman said, county residents could save 30 percent on their electricity bills. Affordable Gas and Electric is a part of Ameren's retail energy division, and represents Ameren Energy marketing, which sets a price for Affordable Gas and Electric to pass on to its customer base.

Illinois' deregulated market has helped customers across the state find lower electricity rates since the laws were implemented in 1997, allowing customers of Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Illinois to shop around and switch providers.