Auction Set for Electric Prices

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- A special auction set to start today could mean higher electricity bills for customers in Illinois.

The Illinois Commerce Commission is holding the auction as a way to set new wholesale prices for power after Ameren and Commonwealth Edison's current suppliers' contracts expire on December 31st.

The prices determined by the auction would take effect January first. That's the same day a state-ordered freeze on residential power rates will end.

Ameren spokeswoman Natalie Hemmer says she can't say exactly how much of an increase customers will see. But she says the freeze held rates low as the cost to produce and deliver electricity have increased.