Following months of acrimony over power procurement and electric retail rates, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) unanimously decided the state’s utilities should use a state-run reverse auction to procure power for consumers that do not choose competitive suppliers. While the ICC agreed with state utilities Commonwealth Edison and Ameren on the benefits of this procurement method, other state officials, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich, have stridently opposed it. But their opposition appears to have less to do with the use of an auction than the soon-to-end state-imposed retail rate freeze that has kept rates under market for several years during a transition to deregulation. The Governor has vowed to continue his opposition.
Reverse auctions have been used successfully in
The ICC concurrently denied ComEd’s request to purchase a quarter of its electricity under five-year contracts, concluding this would raise costs, and instead approved a plan under which all of the utilities will procure power up to a maximum of three years in advance.