Illinois Municipal Utilities Association accepting applications for scholarships

  • One of the essay questions for the Illinois Municipal Utilities Association scholarship is about net metering, an electricity-billing concept that is gaining popularity, especially among solar-energy enthusiasts.

      One of the essay questions for the Illinois Municipal Utilities Association scholarship is about net metering, an electricity-billing concept that is gaining popularity, especially among solar-energy enthusiasts. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2021

Posted1/20/2022 7:22 PM

The Illinois Municipal Utilities Association is offering four $1,000 scholarships to eligible high school students.

To qualify, applicants must be high school seniors whose parents or legal guardians are residential customers of local member utilities.


Eligible students must submit an application and essay of 500 words or less addressing one of four utility-related questions.

Applications and essays are due March 11, 2022.

The application, list of essay questions, and eligibility requirements can be downloaded at

The scholarship program seeks to promote and recognize scholastic achievement, as well as create greater awareness among young adults of the many issues facing consumers and public power municipalities. For more information, contact DeeDee Bunch at IMUA at (217) 789-4632 or

Each spring, graduating high school seniors whose families reside in (or take utility service) from an IMUA municipality are eligible to participate in an essay contest. Each winner receives a $1000 award from IMUA to be used for college tuition.

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The 2021 winners are: Riley Trendler, St. Charles; Vedanth Ganesh, Naperville; Kassandra Estrella Rock Falls; and Lily Conkle, Metropolis.

The list of member municipalities includes: Albany, Altamont, Anna, Batavia, Bethany, Breese, Bushnell, Cairo, Carlyle, Carmi, Casey, Chatham, Cobden, Edinburg, Fairfield, Farmer City, Flora, Freeburg, Geneseo, Geneva, Greenup, Highland, IMEA, IPEA, Jonesboro, Karnak, Ladd, Marshall, Martinsville, Mascoutah, McLeansboro, Metropolis, Naperville, Oglesby, Peru, Pinckneyville, Princeton, Rantoul, Red Bud, Riverton, Rochelle, Rock Falls, Roodhouse, Springfield, St. Charles, Sullivan, Toledo, Waterloo, Wayne City, Winchester, and Winnetka.

The essays must address your choice of any one of the following four issues/questions:

• Net Metering -- (Electric): Net metering is an electricity-billing concept that is rapidly gaining popularity and acceptance among electric customers, particularly solar-energy enthusiasts. What do you see as the net metering advantages and/or disadvantages for electric-service providers, including municipally-owned and operated utilities? How does net metering benefit homeowners? Are there any disadvantages for homeowners? For utilities? (Please explain and use specific examples to support your argument).

• Electric Vehicles: Electric vehicles can be fun to drive and offer a number of advantages when compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, including better economy, better efficiency, lower carbon emissions and less maintenance. What do you suggest as possible solutions to address some of the drawbacks cited with EVs, which include a higher purchase price compared to standard vehicles as well as safety and battery concerns?

• Water: Aquifers serve as a stable drinking-water resource for many communities throughout the country. While aquifers do recharge and/or refill naturally, some of these sources are becoming inadequate to serve the needs of growing communities, particularly those located in high water-demand areas. In addition to the potable drinking water demand, other users are pumping groundwater from aquifers for industrial or agricultural uses, further stressing the aquifers themselves. Do you think current regulations in place in Illinois are adequate to stop the depletion of aquifers? Please explain

and describe if there are additional regulations or measures you think should be taken to protect aquifers as a stable drinking-water resource for Illinois communities.

• Public Power (Benefits of Public Power): Public power has many distinct characteristics that directly and indirectly benefit consumers and contribute to community progress and economic development. What are some of these many benefits and how do you see them contributing to your community's betterment including its quality of life? Please explain.

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