The SPP mission: Working together to responsibly and economically keep the lights on today and in the future.
SPP is about more than power. We're about the power of relationships. We work together with our members and other stakeholders to ensure electricity is delivered reliably and affordably to the millions of people living in our multistate service territory.
SPP is a regional transmission organization (RTO): a nonprofit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members.
SPP was founded in 1941 when 11 regional power companies pooled their resources to keep Arkansas’ Jones Mill powered around the clock in support of critical, national defense needs.
Eight decades later, SPP still reflects our early principles of collaboration in the interest of providing a critical service for the good of our region. Our vision is to lead our industry to a brighter future, delivering the best energy value.
Our Member Value
SPP provides significant, measurable value to its members. The benefits of SPP’s services include reducing the number of required full-time equivalent staff, optimizing generation siting, regionally prioritizing transmission and running markets as a consolidated balancing authority.
The total savings and benefits achieved by SPP’s members in 2021 was $2.696 billion, compared to $149.0 million in net revenue requirement costs, a benefit-to-cost ratio of 18-to-1. Read a summary of our 2021 Member Value Statement (MVS) or learn more about how we quantify our value in the full report.
For many members, their most significant investment in SPP is in new transmission. SPP’s success depends on a robust transmission infrastructure that is capable of transporting electricity from where it’s generated to where it’s most needed.
Between 2015 and 2019, SPP’s members placed $3.4 billion of new transmission projects in service, which will strengthen the reliability of our region, and result in more than $27.2 billion in benefits over the next 40 years: a benefit-cost ratio of 5.24. Learn more about The Value of Transmission.
What We Do and for Whom
Today, SPP oversees the bulk electric grid and wholesale power market in the central United States on behalf of a diverse group of utilities and transmission companies in 17 states.
As an RTO, we ensure the reliable supply of power, adequate transmission infrastructure, and competitive wholesale electricity prices for a 552,000-square-mile region, including more than 70,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the Eastern Interconnection.
Through our portfolio of Western Energy Services, we also provide contract-based services like reliability coordination and administration of a real-time balancing market to customers in the Western Interconnection.
Our staff of more than 600 professionals works proudly and diligently to ensure almost 19 million people across our service territories have electricity when they need it.
SPP is one of nine independent system operators (ISO) and RTOs in North America. SPP is mandated by FERC to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale prices of electricity.
ISOs/RTOs are the "air traffic controllers" of the electric power grid. ISOs/RTOs do not own the power grid; they independently operate the grid minute-by-minute to ensure that power gets to customers and to eliminate power shortages.
SPP provides a robust portfolio of services to customers in 17 states, including:
Reliability coordination: SPP regulates power flow throughout its footprint, addressing in real-time issues of congestion, resource outages and changes in system load. SPP also coordinates the regional response in emergency situations. SPP's reliability coordinator responsibilities are described in the SPP Reliability Coordinator Reliability Plan. https://youtu.be/fUCWbQpZGUw
Tariff administration: SPP provides "one-stop shopping" for use of the region's transmission lines and independently administers an Open Access Transmission Tariff with consistent rates and terms. SPP processes about 90,000 transmission service requests per year, and SPP's 2020 transmission settlement transactions totaled $4.5 billion.
Regional scheduling: On a day-ahead and real-time basis, SPP is responsible for the scheduling of resources to meet system requirements in a reliable and cost-effective manner.
Transmission expansion planning: SPP's planning processes seek to identify system limitations, develop transmission upgrade plans, and track project progress to ensure timely completion of system reinforcements.
Market operations: SPP's Integrated Marketplace is the mechanism through which SPP facilitate the sale and purchase of electricity to ensure cost-effective electric reliability throughout a 14-state region in the Eastern Interconnection. Since the marketplace launched in 2014, it has reduced the cost of electricity in our region by more than $4.2 billion, providing market participants hundreds of millions of dollars in net savings annually. The Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) Market launched in 2021 provides customers in the Western Interconnection the benefits of a real-time balancing market.
Balancing authority: As a balancing authority (BA), SPP balances electric supply and demand, ensuring there is sufficient generation to meet the demand for electricity. By consolidating its entire 14-state service territory into a single, large BA area, SPP can use the region's diverse fleet of hundreds of generating units with different characteristics to serve load under varying conditions across the SPP footprint.
Training: SPP offers continuing education for operations personnel at SPP and throughout the country. In 2020, SPP provided 26,336 training hours to 251 organizations, including courses on reliability and operations, train-the-trainer, Integrated Marketplace, and transmission settlements. Additionally, SPP awarded 19,529 NERC continuing education hours to 39 member organizations and staff.
Contract services: SPP provides reliability, tariff administration, scheduling, and resource adequacy for non-members on a contract basis.
Download the official SPP 75th Anniversary book: The Power of Relationships
Southwest Power Pool dates to 1941, when 11 regional power companies joined to keep an Arkansas aluminum factory powered around the clock to meet critical defense needs. After the war, SPP's Executive Committee decided the organization should be retained to maintain electric reliability and coordination. After the Northeast power interruption in 1965, other reliability councils were organized.
In 1968, SPP joined 12 other entities to form what became the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). SPP incorporated as an Arkansas nonprofit organization in 1994. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved SPP as a Regional Transmission Organization in 2004.
SPP expanded its RTO operations in 2015 to serve all or parts of 14 states. In 2019, it launched the first of its Western Energy Services, Western Reliability Coordination, expanding its service territory to encompass parts of 17 states. The company is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has about 600 employees.
Want to know more?
If you’d like to know more about SPP, we invite you to take a look around our site. If you still have questions:
- Member companies, Market Participants, and other stakeholders should contact their Customer Relations representative.
- Members of the media and those who have questions about the website should contact the SPP communications department.
All others inquiries can be submitted through the RMS.