Entergy, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., is seeking an independent third-party overseer for the portion of its transmission system that serves Southeast Texas. The move is designed to meet the Texas legal standards of independence required to ensure that electricity wholesalers or retailers have fair, nondiscriminatory access to transmission in the Texas competitive electricity market.

Once the TPO is selected and in place, a reinvigorated competitive electricity market pilot can begin. This is expected to lead to a determination of when the Southeast Texas market served by Entergy will be ready for full competition.

“We’ve been working closely with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and others to bring competition to Southeast Texas,” said Joseph F. Domino, president and chief executive officer, Entergy Texas. “Transmission has been a key issue because our high-voltage transmission lines, which cross into Louisiana, are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rather than the PUCT, but are necessary to move power into a competitive Southeast Texas market.”

Entergy proposed having a TPO to oversee its transmission system in Texas as an interim measure that will ensure the system is operated fairly, thus clearing the way for competition in Southeast Texas.

“We are requesting proposals for a TPO and hope to make a selection by late March,” Domino said. “We are working hard to have a TPO in place during the second quarter of 2004.”

According to Entergy’s request for proposals, the TPO’s activities must meet a three-fold mission statement. According to the mission statement, the TPO must:

  • Ensure that Entergy’s transmission organization performs with sufficient independence from the producers or sellers of electricity participating in the Texas retail open access market and that the organization’s decisions are not unduly influenced by them.
  • Oversee, monitor and report on how the transmission organization functions with respect to the Texas retail market, ensuring it does so in a nondiscriminatory way.
  • Make itself available to governmental agencies and all those taking part in the competitive marketplace as needed to respond to questions or concerns regarding the transmission organization’s independence and function.
Qualified entities for the role of TPO will have demonstrated knowledge of and expertise in the technical and regulatory issues inherently associated with the operation of a transmission system and the granting of transmission service.

“The TPO will review transmission operations for the Texas retail market in a number of ways, including taking random samplings of various transactions to make sure we’re providing fair access,” Domino said.