Federal Government uses UPLAN model to examine price volatility in ERCOT

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Industry News

NERC Wants to Run Wholesale Power

LCG, Oct. 17, 2001--The North American Electric Reliability Council's trustees yesterday decided to seek U.S. and Canadian government support, along with backing from other bodies, to become the principal developer of standards for the wholesale electric industry in North America.

Michehl R. Gent, NERC's chief executive, said "On the strength of strong recommendations from the NERC Stakeholders Committee, the Board pledged to take all necessary steps to become the single organization in North America to develop both reliability standards and wholesale electric businesspractice standards and to file such standards with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and appropriate government agencies in Canada."

Gent said NERC is committed "to establishing a fair, open, balanced, and inclusive process for developing all standards."

Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, NERC's board approved a new process for developing standards and agreed to a new composition and weighted sector voting model for its standing committees.

NERC was formed by the nation's electric utilities in 1968, following a massive power outage in the U.S. Northeast that, among other things, plunged New York City into darkness. The entire nation was immediately aware of the blackout, for it occurred as Manhattan-based evening news television shows were airing.

In the years since 1968, NERC has been the industry's developer of standards for the reliable planning and operation of interconnected transmission systems throughout North America. Under today's system, compliance with NERC standards is mandatory but it is not enforceable.

NERC says it is now working with its members to incorporate an enforcement mechanism by way of contracts between its 10 Regional Councils and their members. However, federal legislation is needed in the United States to ensure that NERC and its councils have clear-cut statutory authority to enforce compliance with reliability standards among all market participants.

The organization also wants to change its name to the North American Electric Reliability Organization and develop, implement, and enforce standards for the entire North American bulk electric system.

Richard Drouin, NERC's chairman, said, "The board of trustees recognizes the urgent need for a single organization to develop both reliability standards and wholesale electric business practice standards that are well coordinated."

Such standards, he added, "are vital to support the evolution of competitive electricity markets, the formation of large regional transmission organizations, and continued reliability and security of interconnected transmission systems."

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