June 5, 2018

SPP to provide reliability-coordination service in the west

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Southwest Power Pool (SPP) looks to bring its experience as a time-tested grid operator to the Western Interconnection with plans to offer reliability-coordination (RC) services there beginning in late 2019. SPP has indicated its intent to serve as an RC in the west in letters to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). Twenty-eight western utilities — representing approximately 200 terawatt-hours of net energy for load — have already signed letters of intent expressing interest in SPP’s RC services.

“SPP has served as an RC in the east for more than two decades and has coordinated electric reliability one way or another since we formed in 1941,” SPP President and CEO Nick Brown said. “We’ve shown consistently throughout our history an ability to coordinate people, systems and complex processes to keep the lights on. We’re thrilled at the possibility of now doing so for new stakeholders in the west.”

SPP is one of 10 U.S. reliability coordinators in the Eastern Interconnection and celebrated its 20th anniversary of NERC RC certification in December 2017. Recognized as an industry leader in the field for its state-of-the-art tools, continuous monitoring systems and superior operator training programs, SPP has an RC service territory that extends from the Canadian border to the Texas panhandle.

“SPP has proven that our value extends well beyond compliance and minimum reliability standards,” said Carl Monroe, SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We certainly have the knowledge, skills and tools to ensure grid reliability, and we’ve shown that we can work with neighboring RCs to enhance reliability beyond our own borders. We also provide other services no one else in the region does, like rating submission tools, funding of data exchanges and communication tools and real-time transient and voltage-stability monitoring.”

Consistent with a strategic focus on reliability assurance, member value and affordability, 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 regional transmission organization (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 is in negotiations with several entities in the west who are exploring full RTO 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. Through an expansion to the west, SPP aims to leverage its expertise and systems to provide reliability and cost savings to western utilities while lowering costs for its existing members.

“Our sustained and successful growth has proven the value of SPP’s member-driven business model, and it has readied us to integrate seamlessly into the Western Interconnection,” Brown said. “Our history of leadership, expertise and success points to a fruitful collaboration between SPP and its new partners in the west.”

About SPP: Southwest Power Pool, Inc. manages the electric grid and wholesale energy market for the central United States. As a regional transmission organization, the nonprofit corporation is mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices. Southwest Power Pool and its diverse group of member companies coordinate the flow of electricity across 66,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines spanning 14 states. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at www.spp.org.

For more about SPP's role as a NERC-certified reliability coordinator and the 20th anniversary of SPP RC services, watch "We Are Reliability" on SPP's YouTube channel

Meghan Sever, 501-482-2393, msever@spp.org