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New Analysis

The ISO forges ahead, with or without its members.
Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 2001

Association, Central Illinois Light Co., and Southern Illinois Power Co-op —seeks authority from FERC to leave MISO if threatened defections occur, saying ISO then couldn't function in that case. .

Dec. 22 Exelon and ComEd file formal request at FERC to leave MISO and join Alliance. .

Dec. 22 Wisconsin PSC certifies the state-sponsored American Transmission Co. as a stand-alone transmission company. .

Year 2001

Jan. 5 Louisville Gas & Elec. Co. and Ky. Utils. Co. file at FERC for withdrawal from the ISO. .

Jan. 8 Dynegy and Ill. Pwr. notify FERC of plan to join Alliance.

Jan. 8 Cinergy and Central Ill. Light , plus a broad third-party group of some 17 utilities co-ops, and marketers, including Duke Energy, Enron, and Reliant, ask FERC to appoint settlement judge to oversee the "uniting" of MISO and Alliance. .

Jan. 11 Five state PUCs— Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa —file protest against defection by "gang of six," as does MISO. Illinois and Michigan commissions also protest the Exelon defection.

Jan. 12 MISO files protest against bid by Exelon and ComEd.

Jan. 12 WPS Resources, Wisc. Pub. Serv. Corp., and Upper Peninsula Power oppose Exelon's threatened withdrawal, saying it threatens to balkanize the markets.

Jan. 12 ComEd, Ill. Pwr., Union Elec., and Cent. Ill. Pub. Serv. Co. challenge MISO's proposed debt issue, calling it "risky."

Jan. 16 MISO files its plans to form RTO and comply with FERC Order 2000, saying it is ready to become a functioning ISO if its members are refused withdrawal. .

-R.R.J. & B.W.R.

In fact, on Jan. 8, MISO members Cinergy and Central Illinois Light Co., along with a broad group of utilities (both public and private), co-ops, and marketers, including Enron, Duke Energy, and Reliant, had asked the FERC to appoint a settlement judge to oversee the uniting of MISO with Alliance. They all seek the union of Alliance and MISO to form a single RTO for the Midwest, with the possibility that either Alliance, MISO, or both might function as independent transmission operators or companies within the RTO umbrella.

"It is time for the Commission to take control of the process," said the group. "It is a waste of time and resources of vitally interested stakeholders ... to allow MISO and Alliance to continue to proceed down separate developmental paths when neither can achieve sufficient scope and configuration without the other."

At the same time, the group warned, "While the current situation is dire, it is not hopeless. The process needs to be jump-started."

Massey urged the commission to issue an order as soon as possible requiring the negotiations to continue, with the goal of forming a single RTO for the Midwest. And while those discussions are underway, the FERC must turn its attention to other RTO filings. Massey said he remained committed to having RTOs operating in all regions of the country by Dec. 15, 2001.

Defectors Fall Like Dominos

It took the planned withdrawal of but three companies in the MISO—Illinois Power, Commonwealth Edison, and Ameren Corp.—to give the remaining members cold