Ameren Illinois is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for answers about the recent spike in energy capacity prices for its customers. On Monday, the company filed intervening comments to the complaints made by the Illinois Attorney General, Public Citizens, Inc. and Southwestern Electric Cooperative to FERC. These parties assert that the results of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator's (MISO) capacity planning auction resulted in unjust and unreasonable capacity prices for utility customers in central and southern Illinois.
Ameren Illinois is required to procure electric capacity at the auction price from MISO, the independent operator that manages the energy wholesale power market in the Midwest and ensures that adequate supply is available to meet customer demand. Under MISO's recent federally approved capacity auction, the capacity price for Zone 4, which includes Ameren Illinois customers, was more than 40-times the price than compared to other MISO zones. Capacity charges are included in the overall cost of energy supply, which Ameren Illinois passes on to customers without mark-up.
“Since the auction results were announced, we have been in discussions with MISO officials to explore any available avenue to provide our customers with relief from this unexpected surge in capacity prices,” said Richard Mark, President of Ameren Illinois.
As a result of these discussions, Mark confirmed that MISO will be refunding approximately $84 million to load serving entities in Zone 4 (central and southern Illinois). The portion of this refund received by Ameren Illinois will flow back to affected Ameren Illinois customers and help mitigate the increased cost of capacity which took effect on June 1. On average, a typical residential customer who takes power supply from Ameren Illinois will save about $2 per month because of the credit.
In comments the company filed in response to the complaints now before FERC, Ameren Illinois shared the concerns raised by those parties and asked FERC to review the results of the auction to ensure they are just and reasonable. Ameren Illinois also sought a review of the market rules that will be utilized in future capacity auctions.
“This is about ensuring that our customers pay a fair price for electric supply today while putting in place safeguards to make sure that a spike in capacity costs does not occur again," said Mark.
Questions about the capacity charge should be directed to MISO, which is governed by FERC. MISO can be reached at 866-296-6476.
About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and our mission is to power the quality of life. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.