FERC Sets Stage for Broad RTO in Southeast
FERC last week took the first step towards developing a broad
regional transmission organization (RTO) in the southeastern
section of the nation.
The Commission granted RTO status to GridSouth, a for-profit
transmission company that includes the transmission facilities of
three utilities in two states (North and South Carolina), but it
ordered the GridSouth members to begin discussions with other
companies in the region - such as the Southern Company Services
Inc. and Santee Cooper - to create a much broader RTO in the
In a separate yet related order, FERC rejected the Southern
Company's request for a declaratory order to form its own
for-profit grid company, and directed it to consider joining a
neighboring RTO in the region - such as GridSouth [RT01-77].
Southern "should take seriously our suggestion," said Commissioner
The scope and configuration of GridSouth are "not ideal," but it
represents a "good first step" towards creating a larger RTO in the
Southeast, she noted. The order emphasizes that GridSouth must
continue to expand in the region by attracting new members. Its
current members include Carolina Power & Light, Duke Energy
Corp. and South Carolina Electric & Gas.
Commissioner William Massey said he would have preferred for
FERC to have withheld grid status from GridSouth as well, and
ordered GridSouth and Southern to participate in a settlement
conference to form a single RTO for the Southeast.
Chairman Curt Hebert said he envisions GridSouth as "perhaps an
anchor [RTO] for the Southeast." He further noted he will "expect
and insist" that future meetings between GridSouth and Southern be
held in "good faith" with the intention of creating a larger
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