Seattle City Light Selects California Independent System Operator As Reliability Coordinator

After extensive engagement and review of available options, City Light selects California Independent System Operator due to its experience as a Balancing Authority, Transmission Operator and Market Operator in the Western Interconnection.

Last week, Seattle City Light announced its selection of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to serve as its Reliability Coordinator (RC) following the Peak RC wind down in 2019.

A Reliability Coordinator (RC) is an entity with the highest level of the authority responsible for the reliable operation of a high voltage system. A RC has a wide-area view of the bulk electric system and has the authority to prevent or mitigate emergency operations in day-ahead and real-time operations that may be beyond the operational awareness of individual electric system operators, such as City Light. Federal reliability standards require City Light to obtain RC services, and RC’s undergo a regulatory certification process conducted in the west by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC).  Currently, Peak RC provides RC services to the west[1], including City Light. However, as Peak RC announced its intent to end operations at the close of 2019, City Light and other entities have explored alternatives to ensure reliable operations.

Below is the official letter:

 

Dear Ms. Frye,

Seattle City Light (City Light) is selecting the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to serve as its Reliability Coordinator (RC) following the Peak RC wind down in 2019. In response to Peak RC membership changes last winter, in January 2018 City Light engaged in discussions with other northwest Balancing Authorities (BAs) and Transmission Operators (TOPs) to evaluate RC service alternatives that would continue to ensure reliable operations of the Western Interconnection. After extensive discussion and review of available options, City Light selects CAISO due to its experience as a BA, TOP and Market Operator in the Western Interconnection. Further, City Light’s selection of CAISO will minimize seams as the bulk of northwest BAs and TOPs are also selecting the CAISO for RC services. Finally, City Light is encouraged by CAISO’s response to concerns about the governance, pricing, service quality and the transition process during the Peak RC wind down. City Light expects to begin receiving CAISO RC services in November 2019. This decision is conditioned on CAISO’s ability to secure necessary regulatory approvals to become a certified and registered RC, and fulfilling its commitments regarding the governance, staffing and pricing of the RC functions.

City Light will continue to work with CAISO, Peak RC and its regional neighbors to ensure the reliable operation of Western Interconnection and orderly transfer of RC services.

Sincerely,

James L. Baggs

Interim General Manager and Chief Executive Officer

Seattle City Light

 

[1] Western Interconnection covers 14 Western State, 2 Canadian provinces, and Northern Baja Mexico,