CARMEL, Ind., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cheers went up in the MISO control room last night after more than two years of intensive planning and training led to the smooth integration of a four-state region of the electric grid across the South into MISO's existing footprint in the Midwest. The change in control, or "cutover," took place at the stroke of midnight as Wednesday passed into Thursday, and extends MISO's operational and market footprints from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Manitoba, Canada.
"With this change, MISO's new members across the South will begin to receive the broad array of benefits that our markets provide, including the cost savings realized from improved reliability and efficient commitment and dispatch," said MISO President and CEO John Bear. "Collectively, we celebrate the successful integration and can begin to focus on the future - delivering reliability and economic benefits to millions more people."
In 2012, an independent industry analysis projected savings of $1.4 billion over a 10-year period as a result of the new members joining MISO. The study reinforced MISO's core belief that a collective, region-wide approach to grid planning and management delivers the greatest benefits as evident through MISO's Value Proposition.
In total, MISO now manages a combined footprint of 65,280 miles of transmission with total electric generation capacity throughout MISO of approximately 196,000 MW, making MISO one of the largest power grid operators in the world. This will result in more efficient dispatch of resources to meet energy demands across the region as reflected in MISO's one-of-a-kind LMP Contour Map that allows for a detailed visualization of real-time market conditions.
The integration added 10 new transmission owning companies, six local balancing authorities and 33 new market participants from Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri to MISO. This new region – referred to as MISO South – includes the following transmission owners and local balancing authorities: Entergy (Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Gulf States and New Orleans), Cleco Corporation, Lafayette Utilities System, Louisiana Energy and Power Authority, Louisiana Generating, South Mississippi Electric Power Association and East Texas Electric Cooperative.
To prepare for the cutover, MISO and all of the stakeholders involved with the integration effort participated in a full year of readiness activities that included hundreds of training courses, system development, testing, and simulations. As the Reliability Coordinator for all the incoming Local Balancing Authorities (LBA), MISO was already familiar with reliability operations in the South and began modeling these entities for market activity in a staging environment in early December. After midnight, the Locational Marginal Pricing went into effect in the new territory.
"With this integration and MISO's transition to a Regional model, the RTO has greater ability to meet individual customer needs," said Todd Hillman, regional vice president, MISO South. "Our goal is to provide stronger analysis of operational issues and inclusive policy input to enhance each member's ability to serve the country's overarching need of energy stability."
MISO has coordinated reliability services for Entergy since December 2012, assuming reliability coordination responsibility for the additional entities over the course of the year.
In early November 2013, MISO received NERC approval to serve as the balancing authority for the region.
To better support the recent integration from an operational perspective, construction is underway on MISO's new South Region Operations Center in Little Rock, Ark., reinforcing its commitment to meet regional needs and concerns.
More information about the integration and history of MISO is available on the company's website at www.misoenergy.org.
MISO ensures reliable operation of, and equal access to, high-voltage power lines in 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO manages one of the world's largest energy markets, with more than $18 billion in annual gross market energy transactions. MISO was approved as the nation's first regional transmission organization in 2001. The not-for-profit organization is governed by an independent board of directors and is headquartered in Carmel, Ind., with operations centers in Carmel and Eagan, Minn.