State oversight might drive electricity prices down
Electricity rates could drop this year, depending on how a state process plays out this spring.
For the second year in a row, Illinois officials will oversee how much electricity distributors pay for the commodity, which in turn dictates what consumers pay.
With the cost of electricity generation dropping, officials hope the state’s procurement process could pass the savings along.
“It is entirely possible that there will be some good news for consumers here,” said Susan Hedman, environmental and energy counsel for the Illinois attorney general. “We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.”
In 2007, the so-called “reverse auction” sent ComEd prices up more than 20 percent. Hedman said the new process, overseen by the new Illinois Power Agency, should keep prices closer to market values.
An average residential bill is $85.50 a month, ComEd spokeswoman Alicia Zatkowski said:
60 percent is electricity costs.
33 percent is the state-regulated rate ComEd charges to distribute electricity to homes and businesses.
7 percent is a federally regulated rate for transmitting electricity on high-voltage lines and substations.
If this spring’s electricity procurement doesn’t bring back lower prices, the Illinois Power Agency could reject bids and try again at a better time, Hedman said. “The agency’s job is to get the lowest price it can.”
Thomas V. Bona can be reached at (815) 987-1343 email@example.com.