By Amanda Durish Cook
Market Platform Replacement Enters Year 3
CARMEL, Ind. — The MISO Board of Directors last week approved the RTO’s 2019 capital and operating budgets, allocating $20.5 million for another year of the RTO’s ongoing effort to replace its market platform.
MISO sought a $312.6 million operating budget, a 3% decrease from 2018, and a $27.2 million capital budget, an 8.3% decrease. The RTO’s administrative fee will continue to be 40 cents/MWh in 2019, the same as 2018’s rate.
Kevin Caringer, executive director of MISO’s technology team, praised early-phase vendor General Electric for attracting the usual levels of talent to the company despite its publicized troubles.
During a meeting of the board’s Technology Committee on Dec. 4, Caringer said MISO is currently “withholding judgment but having healthy skepticism” about GE’s ability to deliver software needed to clear the day-ahead market until future platform deliveries are evaluated by the RTO. GE is supposed to have an updated delivery schedule to MISO by the year-end.
Further talk on GE’s schedule was held for closed session of the board at the advice of MISO General Counsel Andre Porter.
The RTO will not announce a recommended platform vendor until the fourth quarter of 2019, when it finishes evaluating alternatives.
Director Michael Curran asked MISO to create milestones to gauge GE’s progress throughout 2019. “I’m struck by the fact that it’s going to be 2019 fourth quarter before we have a sense of the performance,” he said.
Caringer said that executives will provide quarterly updates.
MISO executives also confirmed that they have deliverable expectations for GE’s work but did not reveal dates.
Director Baljit Dail said he felt more positive about GE’s plan and new employees. He said the platform replacement schedule was on a “dark” trajectory earlier in 2018. (See MISO Platform Replacement Risks Delay, Budget Overrun.)
By the first quarter of 2019, MISO will upgrade its web service to support modern browsers.
“It’s a marathon, and we’re into the first 5 miles of it. We’ve hit a really, really good pace,” Dail told MISO executives, while commending the RTO’s work on the project so far.
During an IT scorecard presentation, MISO staff disclosed it suffered an outage of its day-ahead and real-time (DART) application on the afternoon of Sept. 11. The RTO said a process within the program was unresponsive, causing its unit dispatch system and look-ahead commitment tool to miss the targeted solve time of five minutes. MISO said the unit dispatch system, look-ahead commitment tool and its coordinated transaction scheduler were not solving, leading the RTO to perform manual workarounds during the 40-minute outage and restart.
MISO said it experiences DART outages occasionally and the problem requires a solution from GE. RTO staff said it provided operator logs to GE detailing the outage.
Curran, Kozey Get MISO Send-off
Porter will take over as board secretary in 2019, replacing outgoing Senior Vice President Stephen Kozey, board members have decided.
The board voted in closed session on the succession decision. As a rule, all MISO personnel matters are taken up privately.
“I won’t say you have you have big shoes to fill … I would say you have a big head to fill,” Curran told Porter, and after a beat and audience laughter, he said, “That probably didn’t come out right.”
Kozey is retiring at the end of the year after more than 18 years of service in MISO. Curran said Kozey helped build the RTO’s legal team and commemorated him with some of the first written words about Kozey in the MISO record: “The candidate has been recruited without the expense of an outside recruiting firm.”
The audience laughed then gave Kozey a standing ovation.
Curran, also departing MISO at the end of the year, likewise got a standing ovation. Curran has served on the board for 12 years.
Outside board counsel Karl Zobrist lauded Curran’s insistence on “plain language and transparency” during his board tenure.
“I’ve only known you for two years, but it feels like 20. You are the most generous mentor I’ve had,” Director Barbara Krumsiek told Curran.
Director Thomas Rainwater praised Curran’s “directness” and took a benevolent jab at him for now having to deal with ISO-NE’s sloped capacity demand curve. Curran, who will join ISO-NE’s Board of Directors in 2019, has long sparred with Independent Market Monitor David Patton over his appeals to adopt a downward-sloping demand curve in the MISO capacity market.
“I actually like you,” Director Mark Johnson joked. MISO CEO John Bear borrowed a Curran phrase and called him “wicked smart.”
Curran signed off saying, “I refuse to say ‘goodbye’; it’s ‘see you later.’”
Director Phyllis Currie will take over as board chair in 2019. (See MISO Board Selects Currie as New Chair.)
6 Added to MISO Membership
The board approved into MISO membership non-transmission-owning businesses Cleco Cajun, Nuclear Development, TransCanada Energy Sales, Xcel Energy Acorn Transmission and Xcel Energy Birch Transmission. The board also approved the transmission-owning membership application of the city of Henderson. The western Kentucky municipality owns Henderson Municipal Power and Light.