A reader (in the comments here) asked whether we had any opinions on the complaint filed last week by the Illinois Attorney General alleging manipulation of the Illinois power procurement auction. Here’s the basic story, via Business Week and the Associated Press:
Last year, the Illinois Commerce Commission oversaw a reverse auction, where power suppliers offered the lowest prices at which they would sell electricity to Ameren and ComEd, which then sell the electricity to consumers.
The auction produced unexpectedly high increases over previous rates — 22 percent higher on average for ComEd customers and 55 percent higher for some Ameren customers. For some individual customers, the increases turned out to be even more.
[Attorney General Lisa] Madigan argued the huge increases must be a result of corporate misconduct. She said the average prices offered by wholesalers — which include the parent companies of ComEd and Ameren — are twice the actual costs of producing the electricity.
Generally speaking, it is impossible to come to a clear conclusion based upon the public version of the complaint documents — all of the potentially exciting parts are blacked out. (If any reader happens to have an un-redacted version to share, I could provide a better informed opinion.)
Overall, however, the public parts of the complaint don’t impress.