By Robert Mullin
Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) Governing Body members on Wednesday approved a measure that would give them increased power to make changes to the market’s governing charter.
CAISO’s Board of Governors still has final say over the measure, which revises the charter by granting the Governing Body “primary” authority over “substantive” changes to the charter.
ISO approval didn’t appear in doubt based on discussion during an April 19 meeting at which the body also approved a new term for member Kristine Schmidt and named Doug Howe the new chair. “I think this is where the charter needs to be,” CAISO senior counsel Greg Fisher said.
The provision would require that substantive modifications be first presented to the body for its “advisory” input, similar to the role body members play regarding CAISO market rule changes that also affect the EIM. Changes approved by the body would advance to the consent agenda of the ISO board, which reserves the option to consider any decisions. (See EIM Charter Changes Would Give Governing Body More Power.)
The proposal would also allow the Governing Body to initiate any modifications to those areas of the charter dealing with the EIM’s Body of State Regulators (BOSR) and Regional Issues Forum (RIF), two West-wide groups established by the ISO to monitor and provide feedback on the EIM’s activities.
CAISO management initiated the changes at the request of Governing Body Chair Kristine Schmidt, who sought to clarify the body’s role in altering the charter — something not spelled out in the document itself.
“Through conversations when we had the Body of State Regulators and the Regional Issues Forum meetings in Las Vegas, the question kept coming back about who approves the charter changes,” Schmidt said.
She added that “in my head, I thought the EIM Governing Body would have the primary authority over” the charter based on what was spelled out in the EIM’s “guidance document.” That document — the creation of which was recommended by the EIM’s stakeholder Transitional Committee — defines the lines of decisional authority between the Governing Body and the ISO board over matters affecting the EIM operation and policies.
Schmidt took the issue to CAISO CEO Steve Berberich and General Counsel Roger Collanton, who agreed with her that “given the spirit and intent” of the guidance document, “there seems to be a place for the EIM Governing Body to have the primary decision authority over certain parts of that charter,” especially those sections related to the BOSR and RIF, she said.
BOSR Chair Ann Rendahl, a member of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, threw her group’s weight behind the charter revisions.
“I appreciate the effort by the ISO staff and Chair Schmidt and the Governing Body in focusing on the charter,” Rendahl said. “We support the changes.”
The ISO board is expected to vote on the charter revisions during its May 1 meeting.
Schmidt to Remain as Howe Takes Chair
Also in the meeting, the Governing Body voted to keep Schmidt within its ranks — this time for a full term.
“I want to welcome you to three more years of captivity,” fellow body member Howe joked after the group took the vote. The five-member body also elected Howe — currently the group’s vice chair — to be its leader after Schmidt declined to seek another term as chair. Valerie Fong will assume the position of vice chair.
Schmidt’s reappointment was recommended earlier this month by an EIM nominating committee consisting of regional stakeholders — the same panel that initially selected her for the role after an extensive vetting process. (See EIM Panel Backs Schmidt for 2nd Governing Body Term.)
While Governing Body members typically serve for three years at a time, the EIM’s charter calls for staggered terms. A random selection process administered when the group was first seated last year left Schmidt with a one-year stint scheduled to end this July.
Although she actively sought another term on the body, Schmidt turned down another term as chair. “I just feel that there are four other people here who are so qualified and so fantastic as leaders, and also body members. I wanted to make sure that others had the opportunity to play this role” as chair, she said.
“You did an incredible job of getting us on track here and getting us organized … and we’re very fortunate that you stepped up for our first year,” Fong said.
In speaking about his own elevation to the position of chair, Howe said he could not resist a “good pile-on” in lauding Schmidt’s previous work in the role.
“I think most of you have seen Kristine in action over this past year, and more dedication and more effort would be hard to find in anyone,” Howe said. “It is going to be a daunting task to live up to her standard.”