Entergy's Eternal Power Struggle: MISO Move Decades in the Making

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 12:00 am  

Years of controversy and litigation have led to Entergy Corp. joining a regional transmission operator, which manages Entergy’s power lines, and selling the lines themselves to a third party, ITC Holdings Corp. 

‘Work Is Just Beginning’

The MISO move needed to clear the PSC conditions quickly because it will take between 12 and 14 months to make the full transition.

“Moving systems, people, procedures and the testing of systems all has to occur between now and December 2013,” McDonald said.

“A lot of work is just beginning,” said Hillman at MISO. “There are really a series of touch points and signposts along the way to get us toward that December 2013 integration date. The really key milestones tend to be around things like commercial model updates, registration of parties, assuring credit, making sure we understand the units and how to operate them within MISO standards and working with companies on how to best understand how systems are modeled.”

Some of that includes shifting of executives. McDonald said about a dozen new top-level jobs were added during the last year due to the move, but the general employee number at Entergy and MISO shouldn’t change very much.

There was also one other problem Entergy Corp. needed to solve before December 2013 as well: An RTO operates power lines, but it doesn’t own or maintain them, and Entergy didn’t want that responsibility.

In late 2011, Entergy Corp. announced it would divest its 15,700 miles of power lines to ITC Holdings Corp. of Novi, Mich., in a $1.8 billion deal. That part of the story still has a gantlet of regulations to clear, however.

“We made the filing here in Arkansas late last September,” McDonald said. “That case really hasn’t gotten started yet. It will finish sometime in 2013.”

There’s still a question of SPP’s future, too, since it will cease business as Entergy’s temporary RTO in December 2012.

“Having Entergy go to MISO raises questions for SPP just from a business model,” attorney Skinner said. “It’s a major situation that SPP has to consider. It doesn’t mean SPP will go away: It has other companies, other members. But it may limit their ability to expand and grow.”

Monroe at SPP did not seem fazed by the possible changes. SPP is working on its own day-two market, to be implemented by 2014, he said.

As SPP’s business gets smaller, MISO’s footprint will grow by about 30 percent.



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