Grid Geeks Podcast S2E4

RTO Governance - Is It Broken and Can It Be Fixed? 

Listen here . . .

Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) have existed in their current constructs since 1999. That year, FERC finalized a rule called Order 2000 that encouraged RTO and ISO development and provided minimum characteristics and functions for their operation related to transmission service and centralized energy markets. Today, there are six FERC-jurisdictional RTOs and ISOs (and Texas has one too, not regulated by FERC) that manage transmission service, wholesale energy markets and perform reliability functions for about 2/3 of the country’s electricity customers.

But, what are these entities, exactly? They’re not government agencies, and not private companies. They are managed by a staff and independent board and all have varying degrees and types of stakeholder involvement. How do decisions get made? Which stakeholders hold the most influence? Are existing governance structures broken, and what can be done to fix them?

On today’s episode, Mark James, Senior Research Fellow at the Vermont Law School, and Christina Simeone, Director of Policy for the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Energy Center, join me to talk about their respective research into RTO governance and potential reform.

From this episode:

Mark’s paper, commissioned by the R Street Institute, a free market think tank.

Christina’s paper

FERC Order 719

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision emphasizing the importance of RTO stakeholder processes.