TIMELINE-Entergy transition to MISO caps years of wrangling


HOUSTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - New Orleans-based Entergy Corp is scheduled to turn over day-to-day control of its15,000-mile (24,000-km), four-state transmission network laterthis month when it joins the Midcontinent Independent SystemOperator (MISO).

The move, after more than a decade of delays and wrangling,will lead to independent control of the high-voltage grid usedby utilities and power generators across Louisiana, Arkansas,southeast Texas and western Mississippi.

Here is a timeline of Entergy's long road to joining theMISO, a regional transmission organization (RTO), created tofulfill the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) 1996orders to encourage competition between power generators byrequiring open access to transmission:

1996-99: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issuesorders to promote competition in electric generation by ensuringfair access to transmission and outlining requirements forregional transmission organizations (RTOs). Utility membershipis voluntary.

1997: Entergy utilities withdraw from the Southwest PowerPool (SPP) after SPP moves to become an RTO for the eight-statearea that includes Entergy's service territory.

Late 1990s: Regulators reject Entergy's first proposal afor-profit, independent "transco" consisting of its four-statesystem.

2000-01: Federal regulators reject Entergy plan to join itstransco into an RTO with the Southwest Power Pool.

2001: FERC approves MISO as the first regional transmissionorganization.

2001-03: Entergy drops two proposals to join RTOs beingformed by Southern Co and other utilities: Grid South andSeTrans. Both failed to garner state and federal regulatoryapproval over governance issues.

2006: FERC orders Entergy to put its grid under partialthird-party oversight. The Independent Coordinator ofTransmission, or ICT, did little to satisfy power plant andregulator complaints.

June 2009: A public meeting brought together regulators fromall four Entergy states and FERC in Charleston, South Carolina,to listen to grievances against the ICT entity. Stateregulators, with FERC backing, began working together formallyto force changes at Entergy.

2009: Entergy's plan to move its Texas utility unit underoversight of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)fails to find favor with state regulators due to high cost.

2009: Prodded by the Arkansas Public Service Commission andthe committee of Entergy's state regulators, Entergy begins tostudy the benefits of joining the Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

2010: Entergy discloses that the U.S. Justice Department haslaunched a civil investigation into its competitive businesses,including operation of its transmission system.

April 2011: Entergy utilities propose joining the MISO,citing its superior benefits over SPP membership.

December 2011: Entergy and ITC Holdings announce anagreement under which Entergy would divest its transmissionoperation and then merge the business into an ITC subsidiarycalled ITC Midsouth LLC.

November 2012: In a release, DOJ says Entergy must join anRTO and divest its transmission system to resolve the antitrustdivision's concerns "by eliminating Entergy's ability tomaintain barriers to wholesale power markets, ensuring that allEntergy service area generation is dispatched independently andat lowest cost, increasing market transparency and oversight,and properly aligning incentives for the construction oftransmission."

November 2012: Entergy obtains final approval from utilityregulators in Mississippi and the City of New Orleans to joinMISO.

March 2013: Entergy agrees to pay $975,000 to settle a FERCclaim that it violated 15 reliability standards related to itstransmission system.

December 2013: Entergy is set to integrate its gridoperations into MISO.

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