Hoping to foster a more robust wholesale power market, AmericanElectric Power (AEP), Carolina Power & Light (CP&L), DukeEnergy and Unicom Corp. are launching an independent,Internet-based electric transmission business-to-business exchangethis fall that is expected to offer a single portal for arrangingtransmission capacity. Still to come are the consortium’s serviceofferings and the type of technology it will use.

Power marketers, merchant generators, electric utilities,municipalities, electric cooperatives and energy aggregators areexpected to gravitate to the new exchange, although it’s designedfor use by any group in the energy industry. Future customers alsoare expected to include independent system operators (ISOs) andregional transmission organizations (RTOs).

The market is a big one — according to the four companies,more than $4.5 billion in revenue was generated industry-wide in1999 from wholesale energy transported in the United States. Lastyear, the four members of the new consortium transported nearly 100MM MW-hours of wholesale energy within their separate transmissionsystems. Combined, they operate and manage more than 60,000 milesof transmission lines.

“It will allow us to streamline the existing transmissionprocess, providing energy buyers and sellers with a more dynamicand efficient environment to trade and schedule power flow,” saidErik Hansen, CP&L’s vice president of system planning andoperations. He said CP&L’s goal in joining the consortium wasto build a better wholesale power market through Web-basedtechnology.

Craig Baker, AEP’s senior vice president of public policy, saidthe internet-based transmission platform will “simplify energytransactions and improve market liquidity.” He said the consortiumwill create a “system that brings the ‘one-stop shopping’ conceptto transmission, allowing seamless scheduling across multiplesystems.”

The on-line marketplace will take the place of the Open-AccessSame-Time Information System (OASIS) commercial bulletin boardthrough which utilities are required to, but often do not, postapproved transmission reservations and available transfer capacity.More than 170 OASIS sites now exist in the United States. OASISoften requires multiple transactions before a customer can moveenergy, but with the Internet, the external host or applicationservice provider will consolidate the transactions into one.

The on-line system is expected to have a huge impact on thenext-generation system of RTOs, emerging at the Federal EnergyRegulatory Commission Order 2000. Along with giving customers theability to resell and/or purchase unused transmission reservations,the exchange will provide information sharing on how transmissionmarkets are functioning across the country, offering a moretransparent electric transmission marketplace.

“Over the past several years the energy industry has made rapidprogress that has enabled electric generation and distribution todevelop into more liquid markets,” said A.R. Mullinax, chiefE-business officer at Duke Energy. “Using the resources of theInternet, we now are seeing opportunities emerge in thetransmission area that will ultimately provide customers the energythey need when they need it.”

The B-2-B consortium is diverse. AEP, headquartered inColumbus, OH, has more than 38,000 MW of generating capacity,delivering electricity to more than 4.8 million customers in 11states. CP&L, based in Raleigh, NC, provides electricity andenergy services to 1.2 million customers in North Carolina andSouth Carolina, and also provides natural gas distribution andservice through subsidiary NCNG to about 178,000 customers ineastern and southern North Carolina.

Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Duke Energy is a diversifiedmultinational energy company that manages a portfolio of naturalgas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses. Chicago’sUnicom Corp. is the parent holding company of Commonwealth EdisonCo. (ComEd) and Unicom Enterprises, and is engaged in theproduction, purchase, transmission, distribution and sale ofelectricity to about 3.4 million customers in Northern Illinois.

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