California Grid Operator Wins Regulatory Approval to Launch Reliability Coordinator Services

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation certified the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s reliability coordinator service, named RC West, according to a June 3 press release. The RC will offer services for 16 balancing authorities and transmission operators in California, including one in northern Mexico from July 1.

The grid operator expects RC West to offer its services to 24 additional entities after further review by NERC and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, expanding reliability oversight for 87 percent of the U.S. electricity load in the Western Interconnection. RC West has completed 39 service agreements with balancing authorities and transmission operators across the west.

Since May 1, RC West has been shadowing Peak Reliability’s operations, “tracking and mirroring” the coordination by taking part in communications, system data verification, operational analysis, and monitoring of system conditions with situational awareness tools.

The ISO said that the certification marks an important step in the transition of grid oversight responsibility from the current coordinator Peak Reliability.  In January 2018, the ISO announced it will become its own reliability coordinator and offer these services to other balancing authorities in the Western U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The move came in response to Peak’s partnership with PJM Interconnection LLC to expand services to the west. Months later, Peak said it will discontinue reliability coordination services at the end of 2019.