Energy supply prices set at auction

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ALBANY, N.Y. – High energy costs this winter season had Capital Region residents crying foul, but the real question isn’t ‘who’ sets the price. It’s ‘what’ sets the price.

The New York Public Service Commission regulates local power companies, and sets the prices that appear on New York residents’ energy bills. But market price is actually determined through an auction run by the New York Independent System Operator.

For example, the N YISO projects how many megawatts of power they will need in a given day. The generators and suppliers then bid in energy. The market price is set when supply meets consumer demand. But if generators bid a high price in that auction, the higher price will still appear on energy bills.

Senator Greg Ball has questioned the recent high cost energy bills claiming there may be price gauging.

In response, the acting chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wrote “Please be aware the Commission’s Office of Enforcement has conducted oversight with respect to the markets impacted during the recent cold weather and will take appropriate action in the event any wrongful conduct is uncovered.”

A FERC spokesperson also said the Commission makes tariffs that set the market rules and process. If someone believes something unjust happened in an auction, there’s a way to find the answers.

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