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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 2000

Docket No. EC00-33-000, filed Dec. 8, 1999.

Chicago-Area Transco. Commonwealth Edison joined with IES Utilities, Interstate Power and MidAmerican Energy to ask the FERC to issue a declaratory order that their proposed independent transmission company (ITC), operating under the oversight of the Midwest ISO (the so-called "binary RTO"), would satisfy the commission's final rule governing regional transmission organizations. FERC docket No. EL00-25-000, filed Dec. 13, 1999.

Earlier, Alliant Energy had applied for authority to transfer operational control of its transmission facilities to the Midwest ISO. See FERC Docket No. EC00-29-000, filed Dec. 6, 1999.

Attorney Frederick J. Killian of Winston & Strawn described the ComEd ITC plan as "an organized energy market to provide balancing services and to support economical congestion management and ancillary services." It would coordinate and consolidated control areas and the existing regional reliability councils in the Midwest, while allowing the Midwest ISO to provide market monitoring and security coordination.

ComEd contends in the application that its plan might help expand the Midwest ISO: "If transmission owners who are currently outside the Midwest ISO commit control of their transmission systems to an ITC within the MISO-as [we' believe they will-the MISO footprint will expand."

Killian urged the FERC to approve it "These commitments are unlikely to be made on the merge speculation that the Commission might approve the binary RTO structure and PBR and incentive rate proposals."

California PX. The California Power Exchange announced that it volumetric charge in effect during 1999 will continue into 2000, at $0.3064 per megawatt-hour for full and partial requirements customers. FERC Docket No. ER00-850-000, filed Dec. 20, 1999.

California ISO. The California ISO filed its report with the FERC analyzing three problem areas regarding ISO operations: (1) the "5 percent test" for creating or modifying the congestion management zones, (2) the ISO's method for calculating and assigning transmission losses to individual scheduling coordinators, and 93) its one-part approach for evaluating bids for ancillary services, as compared with a two-part evaluation that would take into account both the capacity and energy components of such bids. FERC Docket No. ER00-703-000, filed Dec. 1, 1999.

MAPP RTO. Members of the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool on Dec. 8 voted down a proposal that would have amended MAPP bylaws to allow formation of a regional transmission organization in areas covering parts of Kansas and Missouri, up to Saskatchewan and Manitoba, MAPP and its 90-plus members also were thinking of merging some functions with the Midwest ISO, which was expected to become operational on June 1, 2001, serving portions of 14 states.

On Dec. 9 MISO entered into a memo of understanding with MAPP and a letter agreement with the Southwest Power Pool, proposing the integration of various MAPP functions, assets and personnel into MISO.

New York ISO. The New York Independent System Operator on Dec. 1 officially assumed control and operation of the state's electric power grid from the New York Power Pool, commencing the operation of a competitive wholesale electricity market in the state.

Two weeks later, the ISO proposed to speed up recovery of startup costs,