Consumer watchdogs question Illinois utility rate hikes

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A consumer advocacy group has joined Illinois' top prosecutor in calling for a federal investigation of what they call excessive price hikes for electricity in southern Illinois.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Illinois Citizens Utility Board estimates that an April auction by regional grid manager Midcontinent Independent System Operator led to average power price increases of 30 percent in more than 100 new contracts between local governments and utility providers such as Ameren Illinois.

Some of those contracts were negotiated before the auction.

State Attorney General Lisa Madigan in May filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about the grid manager's auction design. So did the national consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

Power plant owner Dynegy says it followed all the auction rules.

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