New Illinois Cooperative Energy, or NICE, was developed by Illinoisans upset with electric rate increases since last year. It's led by Greenville-based Southwestern Electric Cooperative.
NICE hopes to get a large enough pool of customers to let the co-op negotiate attractive power-purchase prices.
The venture would draw lower rates by buying electricity more often and timing the market to catch lower prices.
NICE customers would still will get their power from Ameren, the distributing company, over Ameren's lines.
At least 7,000 customers must sign up in Ameren's service territory before the program may start.