Illinois Orders Ameren To Conduct Study Of Continued MISO Membership, If MISO A "Good Fit" For Retail Choice
July 25, 2022 Email This Story Copyright 2010-21 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Illinois Commerce Commission ordered Ameren Illinois to conduct an analysis and study of its continued membership in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO)
The ICC noted that, "MISO is situated almost entirely in states having non-competitive electric markets, and the utilities serving those customers remain vertically integrated, combining functions and resources for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power and energy. Whether MISO is a good fit for Ameren, a non-vertically integrated utility that serves a competitive market in Illinois, warrants consideration."
In ordering the study, the ICC adopted recommendations from a Staff report, and directed Ameren to follow such recommendations
The Staff Report observed that, apart from a portion of Michigan, Illinois is the only competitive retail state in MISO. The rest of MISO is made up of LSEs that are vertically integrated, and most practice integrated resource planning.
The ICC noted recent price spikes and shortfalls in MISO's capacity market
The ICC said that, "Moreover, MISO’s PRA is voluntary and not intended to incentivize the development of capacity resources
necessary to ensure resource adequacy. Rather, as MISO notes on its Resource Adequacy homepage, the MISO 'Resource Adequacy construct complements the jurisdiction that regulatory authorities have in determining the necessary level of adequacy.' In the case of Illinois, this means that MISO’s Resource Adequacy construct must complement the state's reliance on competitive wholesale markets to discipline retail electricity prices. Given the most recent MISO PRA [Planning Resource Auction] results and the regulatory structure of its membership, it is not clear that MISO’s Resource Adequacy construct accomplishes this goal."
The Staff Report concluded that it is appropriate to reexamine the costs and benefits of Ameren's membership in MISO and its participation in MISO markets, as opposed to the costs and benefits of membership in another regional transmission organization
"The State Report thus recommends that the Commission direct Ameren to analyze and report on the benefits and costs of continued participation in MISO (Report). In particular, Ameren should perform an analysis of the benefits and costs of participation in MISO, including consideration of the relative net benefits of participation in MISO versus participation in PJM, another regional transmission organization. The study should examine a period of no less than five and no more than 10 years from the period beginning June 1, 2024. The study should examine the costs and benefits to ratepayers, including, but not limited to, consideration of reliability, resource adequacy, resiliency, affordability, equity, the impact on the environment, and the general health, safety, and welfare of the people of the State of Illinois," the ICC said
"The Staff Report further recommends that Ameren should identify the analyses it believes are necessary and appropriate regarding participation in MISO. Ameren should advise and update MISO and PJM regarding that actual analysis. Because Ameren shall ultimately have responsibility for the study and will shoulder the burden of presenting it, Ameren should be entitled to maintain a level of independence and control of this study," the ICC said
"Finally, the Staff Report recommends that the Commission order Ameren to file its Report on a schedule developed by Ameren in consultation with Commission Staff, but in no event to exceed 12 months," the ICC said
A prior statutory restriction on ICC oversight of RTO membership thus ended on July 1, 2022, and the question of Ameren's continued membership in MISO is now within the Commission's jurisdiction.