Regional utilities looking for new electricity market

The Southwest Power Pool is looking to build a new marketplace for electricity in the region, giving customers access to the cheapest power available.
by Jay F. Marks Published: July 11, 2012

The Southwest Power Pool coordinator is working to create a regional marketplace for utilities looking to buy additional power, but an Oklahoma regulator expressed some misgivings Tuesday about the plan.

Officials from the regional transmission organization on Tuesday offered an overview of the Integrated Marketplace program at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The program is scheduled to go live by next May for market participants.

Richard Dillon, Southwest Power Pool's director of market design, estimated the program could save regional utilities up to $100 million a year, as SPP takes over responsibility for acquiring and deploying electric reserves.

He said utilities now look to the lowest cost source of power generation in their portfolios when demand rises, but the new system would connect them to cheaper sources of electricity.

“That's kind of like choosing the cheapest car out of your garage,” Dillon said of the current system. “We're moving to a carpool system.”

Companies such as Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., Public Service Co. of Oklahoma and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative would let Southwest Power Pool take the lead in tracking down additional power at the best price under the new program.

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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