Wednesday, March 20, 2019

SPP Stakeholders: Stick with Dec. 2019 Date for Western RC

By Tom Kleckner

The Western Reliability Executive Committee, which is overseeing SPP’s effort to provide reliability coordination (RC) services to more than a dozen Western Interconnection entities, pushed back last week against the Western Electricity Coordinating Council’s suggestion that the RTO coordinate its go-live date with that of CAISO.

SPP, CAISO and Canada’s BC Hydro have agreed to provide RC services in the West in response to Peak Reliability’s surprise move this summer to wind down its operations by the end of 2019. (See CAISO RC Wins Most of the West.)

CAISO will become the RC for its existing territory on July 1, 2019, and take over RC services for many areas outside of California on Nov. 1. SPP will take responsibility for about 12% of the region on Dec. 3.

BC Hydro will become the RC for most of British Columbia on Sept. 2.

Bruce Rew, SPP | © RTO Insider

SPP Vice President of Operations Bruce Rew told the committee during its Dec. 7 meeting that Peak is concerned that staff attrition may hinder its ability to continue providing RC services as it approaches its wind-down date.

At a WECC meeting last week, Jim Shetler, chair of Peak’s Member Advisory Committee, also said the staggered go-live dates do not afford the organization any room for error. (See related story, RC Transition Fraught with Pitfalls, WECC Hears.)

Rew said that during a recent Western RC-to-RC meeting, WECC said it may offer a streamlined recertification process to Peak and the new Western RC providers during footprint modifications. He said WECC’s actions should mitigate some of the concerns.

“Peak will have already gone through July 1 and Sept. 2 transitions,” Rew said. “As for [Peak] staff, they should have financial incentives to stay until January 2020. I don’t see a significant difference in risk between Nov. 1 and Dec. 3 … but I’m not in Peak’s shoes, either.”

Committee members pointed out that by Dec. 3, Peak will only be handling RC services for a small portion of its footprint. Committee Chair Keith Carman, with Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, urged SPP to “hold fast and steady” on the Dec. 3 date.

“I’m struggling with what the issue is,” Carman said. “As the footprint gets smaller, they have less to worry about.”