PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois is taking new action to address increasing energy prices.

Friday, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) said it is directing Ameren Illinois to study its participation within the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which is the regional power grid operator for downstate Illinois and 14 other states.

The study will focus on areas including reliability, affordability, and the impact on the environment.

ICC Chairman Carrie Zalewski said the step is appropriate due to current wholesale pricing and rising utility bills, which Ameren customers are noticing in July.

“Illinois is the only fully competitive state in the MISO region. Utilities within the other states remain vertically integrated, combining functions and resources for the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power and energy. It is our assertion that this study is warranted to determine whether or not MISO remains a good fit for Ameren Illinois,” said ICC Commissioner Michael T. Carrigan.

Officials with Ameren Illinois responded to the announcement in a statement sent to WMBD:

“In compliance with the ICC’s order, we will undertake a study to evaluate the costs and benefits of our participation in the MISO energy market. Ameren Illinois is very concerned about the shortage of energy generation in downstate Illinois and the significant impact it is having on customer energy bills. We fully support any actions that can be taken to increase generation capacity in our region and lower energy supply costs for our customers.” 

Jim Blessing, Ameren Illinois Vice President of Regulatory Policy & Energy Supply

As for the power grid’s reliability during the recent heat wave, MISO said it is currently stable.

WMBD-TV has reached out to MISO about the ICC’s directive and they have not responded.