New England ISO releases restructuring report

The New England Independent System Operator has released a progress report on the state’s electric industry and its competitive markets following restructuring.

According to the report, with some 88% of its generation capacity deregulated, the state already has the most liberal power market in the US. The report goes on to say that, as a result, New England wholesale electricity prices, after adjustment for fuel costs, have declined by 5.7% since the first full year of operations. Furthermore, it is estimated that more than $9 billion was invested in new power plants in New England from 2000 to 2004, significantly improving reliability and competition. Meanwhile, the introduction of competitive markets also provided new and more transparent information about the performance of the power system, helping to identify needed infrastructure improvements, including transmission investment of up to $4 billion.

In 2003, ISO New England and its market participants launched the Standard Market Design (SMD) with eight pricing zones and a day-ahead market, which brought further improvements. More recently, in February this year ISO New England became a regional transmission organisation (RTO) with clear operational control over the management of the region’s transmission facilities; authority for the terms and conditions by which transmission customers receive non-discriminatory transmission access; and the ability to require transmission owners to pursue needed upgrades.