In addition to providing Victory Electric with wholesale generation and transmission services, our power suppliers Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and Mid-Kansas Electric Company are actively engaged at the state, regional and federal levels to promote policies that are in the best interest of our members. Numerous working groups and committees at the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional transmission organization to which Sunflower and Mid-Kansas belong, necessitate a high level of involvement by Sunflower and Mid-Kansas personnel, who represent Victory Electric and our members.
The SPP is a member-owned organization that oversees the bulk electric grid and wholesale power market in fourteen states across 546,000 square miles. Basically, SPP acts as the “air traffic controller” of the power grid by ensuring power gets to customers and by eliminating power shortages. In addition to facilitating the Integrated Marketplace in which generation is bought and sold, SPP also develops transmission upgrade plans and designs tariffs so utilities are adequately compensated by others for the use of transmission assets.
SPP has 99 members including a diverse group of electric utilities, such as electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, municipal systems, and independent power producers. SPP’s members appoint their personnel/staff to participate in SPP’s many working groups analyzing and developing solutions for various matters.
Because the issues are complex and the outcomes are very important to rate payers at the end of the line, staff representing Sunflower and Mid-Kansas have continued to be active in SPP’s working committees. One area of effort has been to convince the SPP board and membership that the current transmission cost allocation method negatively affects rate payers in wind rich areas like that of Sunflower and Mid-Kansas. Cost causation principles (in essence, the utilities needing/causing transmission upgrades or buildouts should bear the majority of the transmission costs) need to be followed. Sunflower and Mid-Kansas have also advocated for a solution to remedy current transmission tariffs, as well as future tariffs, so that Sunflower and Mid-Kansas are adequately compensated for the use of their transmission wires by other SPP members for wind energy benefiting the SPP region.
While Sunflower and Mid-Kansas are two of the smaller electric utilities in the SPP, over the course of several years, their compelling research and consistent interaction——including 22 presentations—have prompted SPP and its members to review a number of issues.
One such example is the March 2018 creation of the Holistic Integrated Tariff Team, also referred to as HITT, to take a holistic look at many issues challenging the SPP region with a special emphasis on transmission cost allocation practices in wind-rich zones like Sunflower and Mid-Kansas. In July, the HITT delivered 21 recommendations that will be assigned to SPP’s committees and working groups for consideration. Included in the HITT report are recommendations to establish local planning criteria and create new larger pricing zones, two issues on which Sunflower staff have been leading and actively involved because the issues impact members like you.
More work has yet to be accomplished for full implementation of the HITT’s recommendations, but rest assured that through Sunflower and Mid-Kansas, Victory Electric has a seat at the table, not just as a participant but in leading the discussions and developing solutions. It’s just one more way your cooperative is working for you.