CONCORD — Will Eversource customers pay less if the utility buys its power using a sealed bid or a live online auction?
That is a question the state Public Utilities Commission will delve into Thursday.
EnerNOC Inc., a subsidiary of the multinational power company Enel, thinks its online reverse auction platform would help Eversource customers save money, though it doesn’t estimate how much.
Eversource officials aren’t so sure.
“If EnerNOC is able to demonstrate that its process will save money for customers without creating new administrative difficulties then we would consider it, but their petition doesn’t contain any cost or rate information, so we have not been able to evaluate its potential effectiveness,” Eversource spokesman William Hinkle said Tuesday.
Eversource recently started buying power on the open market after it sold off its fossil and hydroelectric plants as part of a two-decade push to deregulate the state’s electricity market.
The state’s consumer advocate, Don Kreis, thinks the live auction concept is worth discussing.
“I think it has the potential to lower prices for consumers,” Kreis said. “We support the idea of having the utilities explore alternative methods” for buying power for customers.
The PUC will hold a pre-hearing conference at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at 21 S. Fruit St., Suite 10, in Concord, followed by a technical session.
EnerNOC said utilities “can better achieve” the goal of reducing costs to consumers while maintaining safe and reliable electric service because bidders can see the prevailing low price in a live online reverse auction.
“This price discovery drives competition and tends to reduce prices, thereby benefiting ratepayers,” according to a filing by Marcia Brown, an attorney for EnerNOC, Inc.
EnerNOC didn’t return a request for comment.