On July 20, 2009, Entergy Services, Inc. (“Entergy”) submitted comments indicating that it will consider becoming a member of the Southwest Power Pool (“SPP”). Entergy’s filing addressed issues raised during the Joint FERC and State Regulator Conference held on June 24, 2009, in Charleston, South Carolina.
In April 2006, FERC approved SPP as the Independent Coordinator of Transmission (“ICT”) for Entergy. The ICT arrangement was a culmination of various proposals by Entergy to address concerns about access to Entergy’s transmission system. The ICT’s role is to administer Entergy’s open access transmission tariff, respond to transmission service requests, analyze Entergy’s investment plans, and oversee a weekly procurement process. The ICT arrangement is set to expire in November of 2010. In a recent order addressing Entergy’s weekly procurement process, FERC required Entergy to file by November 2009 its plans following expiration of the ICT arrangement.
At the technical conference, Entergy noted that it has agreed to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of joining the SPP by the end of this year. In the July 20 filing, Entergy stated that as part of a comprehensive review, it will explore alternatives to the ICT arrangement, including possibly joining SPP. Entergy indicated it will also consider whether modifying the current ICT structure and giving the ICT the authority to require Entergy to construct facilities identified in SPP’s planning process is more appropriate.
Entergy also addressed specific concerns raised in the technical conference that it is not investing enough to upgrade its transmission system. The company noted that it has spent more than $1.25 billion between 2004 and 2008 on its system. Entergy also stated that its current planning practices comply with all existing laws and regulations, including FERC’s transmission planning rules. However, Entergy did recognize the need for its transmission plans to be more aligned with SPP’s, and promised to work with stakeholders to improve that process.