By Tom Kleckner
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — SPP CEO Nick Brown said Tuesday the grid operator remains committed to making Mountain West Transmission Group’s membership proposal work, despite Xcel Energy’s surprise decision to pull out of the group and its pending integration into the RTO.
But integration work has been put on hold until the remaining Mountain West members decide what to do next.
“Obviously, the ball is in the court of the Mountain West participants,” Brown told SPP’s Board of Directors and Members Committee. “I’ve told them we remain committed to doing whatever it takes to come to a reasonable path forward, to create, again, the value that was expected from the previous agreement.”
Representing about 40% of Mountain West’s load and considered the group’s most influential member, Xcel announced Friday it was pulling its 1.4 million customers out of the agreement. That has left the Mountain West’s smaller entities reviewing their options. (See Xcel Pulls out of Mountain West, Endangering SPP Integration.)
“It would be a shame for an individual participant of the Mountain West to unilaterally destroy the value I think would be afforded to the new SPP members of Mountain West and also destroy the value on the table for our current members,” Brown said.
Board Chair Jim Eckelberger told directors and members the Mountain West entities had yet to sign a transition service agreement funding the integration work and approving a set of policy recommendations governing the terms of their RTO membership. In the absence of a signed agreement, Eckelberger said, the board’s March 13 approval of the integration’s funding and policy recommendations has been suspended.
SPP also announced on Tuesday that all Regional Tariff Working Group meetings previously scheduled to address the integration have been canceled through the end of May. The stakeholder group had scheduled 17 meetings before the July 31 board meeting to work on at least a dozen Mountain West-related revision requests.
On Monday, the Regional State Committee (RSC) approved the Cost Allocation Working Group’s request to suspend its work on the new member cost allocation review process. The RSC in January directed the group to draft a report on how new members affect existing cost allocations. (See Mountain West, Cost Allocation Top SPP RSC Concerns.)
The board and single representatives from each SPP member met in an executive session Tuesday afternoon to discuss next steps in the Mountain West integration. The group also discussed recent letters sent to SPP asking for more stakeholder involvement in new member negotiations. (See SPP Group Balks at Mountain West Concessions.)
SPP pointed to Brown’s earlier comments to the board when asked if any decision had been made on next steps.
Several members said their concerns were heard in the follow-up discussion, and the RTO said it would respond to each of the members’ letters.