After months of rigorous testing and parallel operations, GridAmerica, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., today began operations with two of its three participant companies taking regional transmission services from the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. (Midwest ISO, Carmel, Indiana, U.S.).

Requests for transmission service over the transmission facilities owned by GridAmerica members American Transmission Systems Incorporated (ATSI), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp.; and Northern Indiana Public Service Co., a subsidiary of NiSource, are now being administered by Midwest ISO. The Midwest ISO is responsible for evaluating and coordinating those requests for access to the regional power grid on a non-discriminatory basis under the terms of the Midwest ISO tariff. Ameren, the third transmission-owning participant in GridAmerica, will be integrated into Midwest ISO's regional operations pending approval from state regulatory officials.

GridAmerica, the nation's first multisystem Independent Transmission Company (ITC), is managed by a subsidiary of National Grid USA.

"The start of GridAmerica's operations today brings significant benefits to the industry and wholesale energy customers in the Midwest," said James P. Torgerson, president and chief executive officer of Midwest ISO. "With the linkage of GridAmerica's system to Midwest ISO's east and west operations, Midwest energy customers are now benefiting from increased access to multiple generation sources within the Eastern Interconnection plus the elimination of multiple transmission charges," Torgerson said.

"GridAmerica and National Grid are looking forward to delivering on the promise of independent transmission as a vehicle to continually improve the ability of the transmission infrastructure to deliver low-cost, reliable service to Midwest electricity consumers," said Paul J. Halas, chief operating officer of GridAmerica.

"We congratulate FirstEnergy, NIPSCO and Ameren for their foresight and perseverance in bringing this initiative into being, and the federal and state regulators who recognized its potential to improve all aspects of service to the customers they and we serve. We are confident that together with the Midwest ISO we will build on our strong relationship and develop the optimal model of RTO/ITC interaction for the Midwestern marketplace, its regulators and customers."

"The strong working relationship with GridAmerica has been instrumental in ensuring a smooth startup. We look forward to a long and productive relationship as we move toward complete integration of the GridAmerica system," Torgerson added.

In its role as a FERC-approved Regional Transmission Organization, Midwest ISO is responsible for the following:

  • Overseeing GridAmerica's processes and procedures.
  • Administering a single regional tariff,
  • Maintaining the Midwest ISO's Open Access Same-time Information System (OASIS) website.
  • Providing regionwide market monitoring services.
  • Managing parallel path flows for the region.
  • Maintaining operational authority.
  • Monitoring all critical facilities in the Midwest ISO region.
  • Monitoring reliability and network security for the region.
  • Developing and implementing market-based congestion management measures.
  • Midwest ISO and the three transmission owners will continue to be responsible for real-time operation of the transmission system within the GridAmerica footprint.

    GridAmerica is responsible for providing available flowgate capacity information to the Midwest ISO, and coordinating planning and maintenance of the GridAmerica transmission system, including outage coordination, long-term investment planning and generator interconnections. GridAmerica also will perform contracted services for the Midwest ISO, including assisting in the Midwest ISO's tagging and scheduling function and providing "best practice" consultation across the Midwest ISO region.

    The GridAmerica transmission system, when fully integrated into Midwest ISO, adds 28,000 MW of generation capacity, 27,000 MW of load, and 14,000 miles of transmission lines across 46,000 square miles of service territory in five states to Midwest ISO's regional operations.

    In May, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the GridAmerica companies' petition to join Midwest ISO together as a regulated, independent, for-profit transmission company, GridAmerica LLC, managed by a subsidiary of National Grid USA.