Where Entergy leads, will Wal-Mart follow?
It's only the beginning of the beginning, but Entergy's move to form a single-company RTO-lite across its service territory in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana has everyone talking.
With its novel plan, Entergy has now found a way to embrace the concept of a regional transmission organization (RTO) and yet save face, without surrendering to full federal oversight.
It could even lead to a pilot program for retail electric competition for industrial and commercial customers.
With Entergy's lead, will we see a restructuring of energy markets across the entire Southeast, including such giants as Duke Energy and Southern Co.? That's the question that everyone thinks, but few dare to ask out loud. Up until now, with the possible exception of Virginia (where Dominion has thrown in with PJM), the South has remained "solid"-solidly against RTOs and their market regimes.
On March 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) offered its guidance on how Entergy Corp. could establish an independent coordinator of transmission (ICT) and implement an experimental transmission pricing policy.
FERC officials say that the coordinator would carry out five of the eight functions the commission has assigned generically to RTOs. Entergy's transmission pricing proposal is limited to a two-year experimental period under the order and is conditioned on an ICT proposal to add monitoring and reporting conditions.