Electric and Energy & Environment and Utilities and Utility rates

Electric-grid facility in Carmel suffers $11M in damages

February 16, 2012

A Carmel not-for-profit that monitors the electric grid in 11 states and Canada has revealed to federal regulators that a mechanical failure caused more than $11 million in damages to the high-tech facility.

In a Feb. 7 public filing, the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc., or MISO, told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the data center became contaminated in September.

MISO said a mechanical failure of an air-handling unit in the facility damaged information technology equipment, in addition to the physical structure of the data center.

The filing provides no further details about the equipment malfunction that caused the contamination, and MISO executives didn’t return phone calls from IBJ seeking comment.

MISO notified FERC of the contamination earlier this month because it’s seeking to recoup a portion of the $11.1 million in damages from customers. Those customers include about 140 independent and municipal power providers that receive electricity from the grid managed by MISO.

MISO specifically is asking FERC for an extension to recover costs from customers until determining how much of the damages will be covered by insurance.

The transmission operator said it is negotiating with its insurance carrier, and the exact amount MISO expects to pass to customers won't be determined until those talks are completed.

Operating since 2001, MISO manages nearly 50,000 miles of electric transmission lines. It disclosed revenue of $319.7 million in 2010 and expenses of $301.6 million.

In December, the not-for-profit unveiled a long-term plan that it said will contribute billions of dollars to the economy and thousands of jobs. MISO is recommending a $6.5 billion investment for 215 new transmission infrastructure projects to improve reliability of its electric grid over the next several years.
 

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