News Releases

Western Utilities Develop Regional Transmission Organization

Oct 22, 2000

Nevada Power
Contact: Contacts:

Catherine Parochetti, Avista,509-495-2916
BPA:Ed Mosey 503-230-5359
Idaho Power:Lynette Berriochoa 208-388-2460
Montana Power:Claudia Rapkoch 406-497-2841
Nevada Power:Sonya Headen 702-367-5680
PacifiCorp:Dave Kvamme 503-813-7279
Portland General:Mark Fryburg 503-464-7342
Puget Sound Energy:Dorothy Bracken 425-462-3206
Sierra Pacific:Karl Walquist 775-834-3891
Phone: See Contacts:

For Immediate Release

PORTLAND, Oregon - Nine electric utilities serving eight western states with some 50,000 miles of transmission lines are forming a regional transmission organization (RTO) to improve the reliability and efficiency of the power grid.

In a filing today with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the eight investor-owned utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration submitted details on the formation of RTO West.

In calling for utilities to join together voluntarily in RTOs, FERC emphasized that the long-term goals are to promote competition, efficiency and reliability. Formation of RTO West, an independent entity that will operate the transmission system in a large region of the West, will help to achieve those goals.

Formation of this RTO is expected to create a more stable environment conducive to investment in the generation and transmission resources needed to meet the growing demand for electricity in the rapidly growing West.

RTO West will bring benefits to customers over time without significantly changing transmission costs. Further, RTO West does not pre-empt states from choosing their own courses of action on the deregulation of retail service.

The utilities expect formation of the RTO to result in reliability benefits to consumers through more efficient electrical operations, coordinated planning and expansion, and more coordinated outage planning. Other key customer benefits will result from more competitive generation markets and fewer power outages.

The nine members of RTO West are Avista, BPA, Idaho Power, Montana Power, Nevada Power, PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy and Sierra Pacific.

Creation of RTO West is subject to regulatory approvals from FERC and the states served by the investor-owned utilities. The organization will begin operations after all approvals are obtained.

As proposed, RTO West will operate the transmission systems for all participating transmission owners located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and parts of Montana, Wyoming and California, but ownership will remain separate.

RTO West will be a non-profit independent system operator governed by an independent board of directors with a stakeholder advisory board. RTO West will operate all transmission facilities needed for bulk power transfers and will control about 30,000 miles of the 50,000 miles of transmission line owned by the utilities.

  • Transmission Ownership
  • Line Miles:

    Avista - 2100
    BPA - 15000
    Idaho Power - 4600
    Montana Power - 6800
    Nevada Power - 1200
    PacifiCorp - 15000
    Portland General -2000
    Puget Sound Energy - 2700
    Sierra Pacific- 1800