“Keeping the lights on,” it’s easily the number one phrase used to describe what goes on at an electric utility. “What did you do today?” “Oh, nothing – just kept the lights on.” It makes it seem so simple. In reality, ensuring there is a current flowing on the back side of every switch in MISO’s 15 state footprint is far from simple. Local utility companies, like the ones we pay our bills to every month, take on the responsibility of ensuring power flows on the small (relatively speaking) distribution lines hanging high above sidewalks and city streets. Alternatively, Regional Transmission Organizations like MISO are responsible for ensuring that power flows across the ginormous transmission lines that float high above open fields, crisscrossing interstate highways, rivers, hills and valleys.
Balancing electricity, on any size transmission line, requires the ongoing analysis of a steady stream of data from thousands of data points across the transmission system. This analysis coupled with high-tech computer systems and a great deal expertise and collaboration ensure the transmission system runs as reliable and efficient as possible.
Transmission system reliability is so important that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certified a higher power to help guide and ensure transmission system reliability across North America. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and its 180 employees oversee the reliability of 211,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines representing more than $1 trillion worth of assets…and you thought your job was stressful!
NERC delegates its authority to monitor and enforce compliance to eight Regional Entities; three of which share oversight of the MISO footprint. The North and Central regions fall entirely in the ReliabilityFirst (RF) and Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) territories while MISO South falls under SERC Reliability Corporation jurisdiction.
MISO began its relationship with SERC on Dec. 19, 2013, when MISO expanded its footprint to include areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Since that time, MISO’s excellent reliability services to the end-use consumers across the MISO South region. In recognition of MISO’s reliability excellence, SERC President and CEO Scott Henry presented MISO with the 2016 President’s Award.
In 2015, MISO realized several big accomplishments across the South region.
- Record Summer Peak – MISO successfully managing an all-time peak across the South region without relying on emergency operating procedures.
- Certainty with Neighboring Systems – Successful settlement with SPP and the Joint Parties to provide better certainty across our seams.
- Commitment to Compliance – Recognition of MISO’s strong emphasis on compliance as the organization complied with CIP v5 requirements.
Previous award recipients include Virginia Electric and Power Company and South Carolina Electric & Gas Company