The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission invited industry representatives to Washington, D.C., in July to talk about the electric utility industry's implementation of OASIS, or open-access, same-time information system, which is used to monitor and schedule electric transmission capacity.
It ended up with an earful about problems on the on-line system.
Gerry Cauley, of the industry's volunteer "How Working Group," said, "Overall, the OASIS does provide comparable access," and the system is seeing reservation activity at expected levels. On the other hand, he acknowledged that the system is not built to support "next hour" reservations; and he is "concerned how much business is being done outside of OASIS."
Several panelists agreed with Brian Tierney, a power trader for ENRON Power Marketing Inc. with daily OASIS experience, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition for a Competitive Electric Market. "OASIS can work well as an information conduit, but as a transactional medium, it is much more cumbersome" than the previous phone/faxing method, he said.
Marjorie Phillips of PECO Energy had several suggestions for improving the system, including requiring each transmission provider to have a 24-hour hotline, with the number posted on the OASIS system, and allowing a customer to make one request for wheeling service, rather than make multiple requests for multiple paths.
The FERC didn't hear only complaints, however. Kurt Conger, director of policy analysis at the American Public Power Association, noted that OASIS has spurred innovation toward system automation in some regions. Terry Callender, vice president of governmental affairs for NCG Corp. applauded the Southern Co., PJM Interconnection and Salt River Project for "dependable information posted on a timely basis," and for good attitudes and customer responsiveness. In addition, said PECO's Phillips, "We are moving power to more areas than before and that may be due in part to OASIS success."
OASIS was mandated by the FERC in last year's Order 889. For more information, see the OASIS Web site at www.tsin.com. (em LMR
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