Electricity Markets

SPP calls for utilities to help design, implement energy market

The Southwest Power Pool on April 4 called on interested utilities and other customers to join in the design and implementation of an energy imbalance market in the West.

Derek Wingfield, an SPP spokesman, said in an email that the timeline and specific design of a market depends so much on the scope of our customers’ requirements, “there’s not much we can say on the matter for now.”

Wingfield said that at this point, “we’re in listening mode and just want to learn from interested customers in the west the type of market that will benefit them most. We certainly have particular design elements and best practices in mind based on our experience operating an imbalance market in the east for years and on our work implementing reliability coordination services in the west, due to go live later this year.”

He added that SPP has “had some interest already, but again, we’re so early in the discovery process that it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to name anyone yet.”

In an April 4 news release, SPP noted that it has been a certified reliability coordinator (RC) for more than two decades, operated an energy imbalance market from 2007 to 2014 and launched a day-ahead electricity market in 2014.

In June 2018, SPP said that it planned to offer reliability coordination services in the western U.S., specifically the Western Interconnection, starting in late 2019.

In September 2018, SPP said that several public power utilities in the West agreed to receive reliability RC services from the grid operator. Colorado-based Platte River Power Authority, Colorado Springs Utilities and the City of Farmington, New Mexico, a public power community, committed to receive RC services from SPP. SPP also noted it will provide RC services to several Western Area Power Administration regions.

SPP also said last year that several investor-owned utilities and cooperatives made similar commitments to receive SPP RC services.

SPP, a regional transmission organization, manages the electric grid and wholesale energy market for the central United States.

SPP and its group of member companies coordinate the flow of electricity across 66,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines spanning 14 states.


The California Independent System Operator in 2014 launched a western Energy Imbalance Market.

The market’s first participant was Oregon-based PacifiCorp. Las Vegas-based NV Energy followed on Dec. 1, 2015, Puget Sound Energy of Bellevue, Washington, and Arizona Public Service of Phoenix, Arizona, on Oct. 1, 2016, Portland General Electric on Nov. 1, 2017, and Idaho Power and Powerex of Vancouver, British Columbia on Apr. 4, 2018. EIM is now serving consumers in eight western states.

Other entities scheduled to begin participation include Seattle City Light, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Arizona’s Salt River Project in 2020; and pending regulatory approval, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Public Service Company of New Mexico in 2021 and Northwestern Energy of Butte, Montana in 2021.

CAISO on April 4 announced that Sacramento Municipal Utility District, part of the Balancing Authority of Northern California, successfully began full participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market.