Don't overlook impacts on power supply reliability, urges a consultant.
Messrs. Cicchetti and Long deserve a round of applause for their insightful article, "Transmission Products and Pricing: Hidden Agendas in the ISO/Transco Debate," in the June 15, 1999, issue of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
The authors rightly point out that the difference between the concept of an "independent system operator, or ISO, designed to operate transmission assets still owned by regulated utilities" and the concept of an independent transmission company, or transco, which "combines ownership and operation of the wires under the same roof," goes well beyond the question of ownership. They articulate in some detail the important distinction between the ISOs and transcos in terms of the types of "transmission products" to be offered by each, and their prices. They also recognize that "ISOs come in a variety of sizes and shapes" and that "one size surely does not fit all." Finally, they wisely refrain from any attempt "to resolve which groups in the state-by-state debate have the best facts or the best arguments."