Electricity Markets

SPP to offer reliability coordination services in the western U.S.

The Southwest Power Pool on June 5 said that it plans to offer reliability coordination services in the western U.S., specifically the Western Interconnection, starting in late 2019.

SPP noted that it has indicated its intent to serve as a reliability coordinator in the west in letters to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Twenty-eight western utilities have already signed letters of intent expressing interest in SPP’s RC services.

SPP said it is in negotiations with several entities in the west that are exploring full regional transmission organization membership, which would include not only RC services, but also participation in the organization’s wholesale electricity markets, transmission-planning processes and member-driven governance structure.

SPP is one of 10 U.S. reliability coordinators in the Eastern Interconnection and marked its 20th anniversary of NERC RC certification in December 2017. SPP has an RC service territory that extends from the Canadian border to the Texas panhandle.

A reliability coordinator is responsible for complying with NERC and regional standards, including providing oversight, monitoring operational and security risks, acting or directing action to preserve system reliability, and providing leadership in system restoration following a major reliability event. 

SPP has provided contract RC services across a multistate region in the past and expanded its services and territory several times in the last decade. The RTO incorporated several Nebraska utilities in 2009, implemented its FERC-approved highway/byway cost-allocation methodology and integrated transmission-planning process in 2010, launched its Integrated Marketplace in 2014 and added the integrated system to its member roster in 2015.

SPP members include public power entities in Nebraska and elsewhere.

CAISO plans to become reliability coordinator

In early 2018, the California Independent System Operator said that it would become its own reliability coordinator and offer services to other balancing authorities and transmission operators in the western U.S.

The ISO gave notice of its withdrawal to its current reliability coordinator, Peak Reliability, and to each of their funding members, effective September 2019.

In February, the Bonneville Power Administration signed a letter of intent to explore receiving reliability coordinator services from CAISO.

Meanwhile, the Western Area Power Administration earlier this year said that two of its balancing authorities were considering SPP for reliability coordinator services and a third WAPA balancing authority was considering both SPP and CAISO as potential providers for reliability coordinator services.

Peak Reliability, which serves as the reliability coordinator for the West, including parts of Mexico and Canada, and a PJM Interconnection subsidiary in late March issued a business plan for a proposed new entity to provide RC, reliability services and energy markets in the West. Peak has also issued plans to serve as a transitional RC while wholesale markets are being developed in the region.