Grid operators feud over transmission lines, payments

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Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.’s recent expansion into the South has thrust the Carmel group into a dispute over whether it has to pay for using another firm's power lines.

MISO, which manages the power grid in much of the Midwest, recently received about $9 million in invoices from the Southwest Power Pool, a similar organization based in Little Rock, Ark., for using the latter’s transmission lines. MISO has claimed in a Feb. 18 federal regulatory filing it does not have to pay.

The two groups became ensnarled in a federal regulatory dispute after MISO agreed to acquire transmission lines in Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas from Entergy Corp., headquartered in New Orleans.

MISO, which has been in control of Entergy’s old territory since December, has used SPP’s power lines to ship electricity to the north and back. MISO and SPP have a joint operating agreement, but a dispute remains over the terms under which MISO would transmit energy along SPP lines.

Federal energy regulators initially accepted MISO’s interpretation of its joint operating agreement with SPP. But the matter went to a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., which in December vacated the ruling and kicked it back to federal regulators for further review.

SPP has sent MISO two bills for power overages related to use of the lines--about $2.5 million for part of December and almost $6.9 million for January. MISO fired back in the Feb. 18 regulatory filing, saying such charges were not spelled out in their agreement.

Both groups are awaiting a decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


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