April 1, 2009, LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – Today Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), Lincoln Electric System (LES), and Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) completed their transition to membership in Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP), a regional transmission organization headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. SPP now serves as the reliability coordinator for the Nebraska entities, and is responsible for maintaining reliable operation of the bulk electric grid in the organizations' geographic area. In March, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation certified that SPP has the necessary tools, processes, training, and procedures to perform as the reliability coordinator for this expanded footprint.
NPPD, LES, and OPPD are now participating in the SPP energy imbalance service market, and SPP is administering transmission service for the organizations. "Transition to SPP provides a positive and timely opportunity for LES and all of Nebraska," said Doug Bantam, Vice President of LES Power Supply. "Participation in this established, and yet evolving, energy market will enhance our options for dealing with a rapidly changing energy industry."
The Nebraska entities will also be included in SPP's transmission planning processes. “We believe SPP's forward-looking regional transmission and construction planning process will offer benefits to NPPD and our customers,” said Pat Pope, NPPD vice president and chief operating officer. “NPPD looks forward to participating in SPP and accessing the opportunities of its energy market.”
With the addition of NPPD, LES, and OPPD, SPP's reliability coordinator geographic footprint expanded by 30%, and its miles of transmission lines increased 16%. The number of states in which SPP manages transmission increased from seven to eight. According to SPP President and CEO Nick Brown, “The addition of the Nebraska organizations will add more diversity to SPP's generation mix and broaden our regional energy marketplace, adding value for all of our members.”
"OPPD focuses on providing affordable, reliable electric service to our customer-owners," said OPPD President Gary Gates. "Our entry into Southwest Power Pool with our Nebraska colleagues will help drive those efforts."
Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a group of 54 members serving more than five million customers across nine states of the Eastern Interconnection. Membership is comprised of investor-owned utilities, municipal systems, generation and transmission cooperatives, state authorities, wholesale generators, power marketers, and independent transmission companies. SPP's footprint includes 26 balancing authorities, 47,000 miles of transmission lines, and 370,000 square miles of service territory.
SPP was a founding member of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation in 1968, and was designated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) in 2004 and a Regional Entity (RE) in 2007. As an RTO, SPP ensures reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure, and competitive wholesale prices of electricity. The SPP RE oversees compliance enforcement and reliability standards development.