Federal CommissionÂ’s Ruling Could Result in Lower Electricity Rates

ILLINOIS - - In a decision that could bring relief to the pocketbooks of Ameren Illinois electricity customers, a federal commission has ordered new rules for how electricity is sold and supplied.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which operates the electricity grid in all or parts of 15 states, including Southern and Central Illinois, is responsible for holding annual energy capacity auctions that determine how much Ameren and other utilities pay.

Last year, MISO set the maximum bid price too high for its electricity capacity auction, which resulted in an annual increase of about $131 for the average residential Ameren Illinois customers, according to the Illinois attorney generalÂ’s office.

As a result, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered MISO to revise its auction rules so that they are more fair.

ItÂ’s not yet clear how much Ameren Illinois customers will save, or whether some of the money they paid this past year will be refunded or credited.

FERC issued a ruling Dec. 31 in the capacity auction case filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. MadiganÂ’s office filed the complaint with the FERC after the capacity auction last year led to downstate electric customers paying more than 42 times higher wholesale prices for electricity supply compared with other MISO territories.

FERC found MISO’s auction provisions for the 2015-16 planning year were “not just or reasonable,” and ordered the grid operator to submit rule revisions in 30-90 days for its April auction for the 2016-17 planning year.

Ameren Illinois said the new auction rules should lead to a “fairer” process and short-term rate relief for electricity customers.

“Our position has always been that the process for establishing capacity costs should be fair and just, and not unduly burden Ameren Illinois customers,” said Richard J. Mark, president of Ameren Illinois. “FERC’s ruling provides an encouraging sign that issues with the capacity auction process are being addressed, and that our customers can expect stable prices in the future.”


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