- The Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) has expanded its regional borders and welcomed 100 companies that were registered with Southwest Power Pool Regional Entity (SPP RE), which has approval from federal regulators to dissolve.
- The shakeup reflects the changing geographic footprints of the reliability organizations; last year SPP and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) agreed to terminate a delegation agreement between the two organizations.
- MRO now oversees much of central North America, including all or part of 16 states and 2 Canadian provinces. SPP will look to provide reliability-coordination services in the west.
News that MRO has expanded its borders signal the continuation of a shakeup in transmission reliability coordination as utilities look for ways to cut costs, and new energy resources shift geographical borders. Meanwhile, SPP will shift its reliability focus to the west.
Earlier this year, the California ISO announced it would begin acting as its own reliability coordinator and offered its services to others. Mountain West Transmission also helped to start the shakeup among coordinators by announcing it would join SPP.
Southwest Power Pool manages the electric grid and wholesale energy market for the central United States, but its geographic footprint was misaligned with that of SPP RE. NERC created SPP RE in 2007 as an electric reliability compliance enforcement authority that was an independent division of SPP.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved in May a joint petition to dissolve SPP RE and to transfer registered entities to MRO and SERC Reliability Corporation. Following the changeup, MRO's regional boundaries will include the southern half of the Midwest and all or parts of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
In a statement, MRO said transition-related efforts will continue throughout the year as the organization increases staffing. "MRO staff projects it will be able to recover all transition-related costs through a transfer of assessments from SPP RE to MRO," the coordinator said.
As for SPP's reliability services, the grid operator said 28 western utilities representing approximately 200 TWh of net energy for load "have already signed letters of intent expressing interest in SPP’s RC services." SPP is one of 10 U.S. reliability coordinators in the Eastern Interconnection.
SPP President and CEO Nick Brown last year said the decision was made because of significant growth in the last decade, resulting in the RTO's footprint and the regional entity failing to overlap.