Reliant Energy Inc. and Mirant Corp. said the California Independent System Operator is preferentially buying power for the real time market from the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) and ignoring power bid into that market through the approved Federal Energy Regulatory Commission procedure.
Reliant, Houston, and Mirant, Atlanta, jointly filed a complaint today with FERC that alleges the California ISO violates its own tariffs and the Federal Power Act.
As a result of the buying patterns by the California ISO, the markets for imbalance energy and ancillary services in California have just about disappeared, Reliant and Mirant said. Most of the power needed in real time is now bought from the CDWR but that power is not bid into the real time market.
Reliant and Mirant contend that the California ISO provides bid, availability, demand, and other data to CDWR without making it available to other market participants violating provisions of the Federal Power Act.
The California ISO also discriminates against the two merchant generating companies by ignoring the dispatch tariff and treating energy from CDWR preferentially in real time even though it was not bid into the real time market, according to the filing.
Under the tariff, the California ISO is required to place resources available for real time dispatch in a merit order based on price, ramp rate, and location. The California ISO is supposed to dispatch the real time energy in a least cost order from the bids submitted.
The ISO is not supposed to go out-of-market to buy energy unless none is bid into the market or it is insufficient to meet load.
On one occasion, according to the filing, the California ISO went out-of-market to buy energy when there was already sufficient energy bid into the market. When there was a “system contingency” that threatened the reliability of the western interconnection, Reliant alone had 1,100 Mw of power available but the grid operator dispatched only 20 Mw, the company said.
As a result of these violations of the California ISO tariff and the Federal Power Act, Reliant and Mirant are disadvantaged in their ability to sell energy in the real time market in California.
The complaint seeks “expedited” treatment by the commission.