The North American Transmission Forum, the organization formed in 2007 to improve the operations and reliability of the electric power systems in North America, has organized as an independent non-profit corporation. The Forum also has hired José M. Delgado as its president, and named Don Benjamin as its executive director.
Since its formation as part of NERC, the Forum’s membership has grown from the 16 charter members to 54 transmission owning utilities in the United States and Canada. Utility membership presently represents 70 percent of the total electricity demand across the United States and Canada. The Forum’s practice sharing activities involve more than 900 electric transmission system planners, operators, compliance managers, vegetation managers and security experts.
PJM president and CEO Terry Boston, current board chairman of the Forum, explains the value of Forum membership: “Individual members form teams to share information and lessons learned in a confidential environment to promote the highest levels of performance in key areas of the operation of the electric transmission system in North America. Members also benefit from peer reviews conducted at member companies to observe practices and recommend ways to improve grid operations and system reliability. Overall, our goal is to take the industry beyond compliance by identifying and sharing best practices developed by the collective expertise within the industry.”
The Forum now has the commitment of Delgado and Benjamin to oversee the day-to-day operation of the organization. Delgado is the founder and recently retired chairman of American Transmission Co., the first multi-state transmission-only utility in the U.S. A recognized leader in the transmission industry, Delgado provided leadership oversight as the Forum’s first board chairman, and is reaching out to organizations that are eligible to join. Benjamin has been with the Forum since its inception. He previously spent 25 years on the North American Electric Reliability Corporation staff.
The Forum has been writing practices to address areas of highest interest to the good operation of the network. “We wrote our first Forum practices to address the main causes of the August 14, 2003, blackout that affected a large portion of the Eastern Interconnection,” explains Benjamin. “Now we’re working on practices for transmission system computer simulations, operator training, system protection and others.”