Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
In late 1999, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) directed all public utilities owning transmission to consider joining or creating a Regional Transmission Organization, to facilitate planning and use over a larger geographic footprint. This was part of a larger effort by FERC to open up transmission lines to use by third parties and enable more competition in electricity supply. This case study lays out the four Southern proposals submitted to FERC and chronicles how this directive played out in the South. In a sidebar, the case study also describes the retail competition vision being explored in North Carolina during the same time period. While the Southern Grids did not launch, the GridSouth (in the Carolinas) and the GridFlorida proposals reflect a concerted effort by the participating utilities to explore market creation, as well sustained engagement—and some support—by regulators and stakeholders. There may be lessons to learn from this process, in today’s debates over regional competition.
The Southern Grids is one case study in a series that the Nicholas Institute is publishing as part of the Institute’s analysis of competitive options for the Southeastern electric power sector. The case studies, and other analysis, is intended to inform ongoing discussions in multiple Southern states about the future of the electricity sector.