Eleven Southeast transmission line owners to form RTO

Eleven owners of transmission systems across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina reported signing of a memorandum of understanding to develop a regional transmission organization for the Southeast.

A formal filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is expected by Dec. 15.

Alabama Electric Cooperative, City of Dalton, (Ga.) Utilities, City of Tallahassee (Fla.), Georgia Transmission Corp., Jacksonville (Fla.) Electric Authority; the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, Santee Cooper (SC), Southern Co., and South Mississippi Electric Power Association agreed work for the formation of a regional transmission organization (RTO).

If successful, the RTO would be one of the nation’s largest, covering more than 39,000 miles of transmission with an investment in assets exceeding $6 billion. The group said it hoped to establish as quickly as possible an RTO consistent with the requirements of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The companies said the process is not being controlled by any individual transmission owner and all participants will help establish the rules by which they will operate and make decisions. Once the participants agree on process and principles, they will begin discussions to choose a third party operator.

Southern is a superregional energy company with more than 32,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Southeast and 26,000 miles of transmission lines, serving 4 million customers.

Alabama Electric Cooperative is a generation and transmission cooperative providing wholesale electricity to 21 member distribution systems, including17 in Alabama and four in Florida. Its peak load is 1,800 Mw.

Dalton Utilities is a utility providing electric, water, wastewater, natural gas, and telecommunications services to the city of Dalton, Ga., and portions of Whitfield, Murray, Gordon, Floyd and Catoosa counties in Georgia.

City of Tallahassee maintains more than 2,200 miles of transmission and distribution lines, serving some 98,000 homes and businesses in the Tallahassee, Fla., area. Georgia Transmission Corp. is a not-for-profit cooperative owned by 39 electric membership corporations in Georgia. It owns about $910 million in assets, including more than 2,400 miles of transmission lines and 500 substations.

JEA, formerly known as Jacksonville Electric Authority, is a municipally owned electric supplier serving 350,000 customers in a four-county area of northeast Florida. Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) is a joint-action state authority providing wholesale electric generation and transmission to 48 city or county-owned electric systems in Georgia.

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility and the state’s largest seller of power. The utility is the direct and indirect source of power for 1.6 million South Carolinians and maintains 4,223 miles of transmission lines.

South Mississippi Electric Power Association is a nonprofit wholesale electric power cooperative serving 350,000 retail consumers of its 11-member distribution cooperatives in Mississippi.

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