An update from SPP President & CEO Barbara Sugg - Sept. 3, 2020
Dear stakeholders –
Our collective progress this year is a testament to the relationships that power SPP. Together we have navigated temporary and lasting changes to the way we work. We have reliably supplied power, improved infrastructure, ensured competitive wholesale prices and welcomed new members and customers. I am encouraged by our return to pre-pandemic load levels, and I know together, we stand ready to meet new energy challenges that arise.
I am proud of the relationships that extend beyond our region. California Independent System Operator (CAISO), Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) have recently faced challenges over and above the pandemic. I give credit to my peers for their responses to wildfires and outages on the West Coast and hurricane damage on the Gulf Coast. I am glad SPP has been able to assist with their regions’ reliability.
We are working through the aftermath of Hurricane Laura in both SPP’s region and our neighbors’. Transmission was greatly impacted along the Texas and Louisiana border. Before, during and after Laura’s landfall, we coordinated with a broad team: MISO, ERCOT, the Edison Electric Institute, American Electric Power and regulators. Together, we addressed voltage and severe loading issues, monitored required load sheds and mitigated the risk of major, potentially catastrophic outages both during the event and through restoration efforts. Certainly load-shed events are unfortunate and undesirable. However, I’m proud of the interregional coordination to protect the bulk electric system. I’ve received multiple messages of gratitude and appreciation from our counterparts at MISO regarding our coordination efforts. We learn from each event we experience and take the opportunity to improve our own processes while also communicating with our peers about lessons learned from their perspective.
I’m sure many of you followed recent news of rotating blackouts in CAISO’s territory. SPP has been able to support western grid reliability by coordinating with CAISO, members and customers, optimizing the use of available resources and working with our neighbors. I know that our efforts to assist have been very much appreciated as CAISO worked to stabilize their region. SPP’s relationship-based approach, expertise in reliability coordination and big picture view of the bulk power system are why organizations continue to seek our partnership in the west. In the past week, SPP has announced a new reliability coordination partnership with Gridforce Energy Management in Washington, Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico, as well as a program development contract to expand and define Northwest Power Pool’s new multistate resource adequacy program.
Reliability is job one for us, and that starts at home. This week we shared with staff our updated plan for a phased return to our offices scheduled to begin Oct. 5, 2020. This return still depends in part on our community meeting certain milestones for health and safety. We will continue best practices to keep our employees healthy and provide our essential services.
Please note that board and other committee meetings will continue to be hosted by web conference at least through January 2021. If you haven’t already, you can register for our various stakeholder meetings at www.spp.org/events. In the future, when we can safely resume business travel we will strive to provide the tools to ensure equitable engagement in our stakeholder processes, regardless of whether you participate in-person or remotely.
Take good care, and please wear a mask,
SPP President & CEO