Transmission owners agree to develop RTO

Owners of transmission systems across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a regional transmission organization (RTO) for the Southeast.

Alabama Electric Cooperative, City of Dalton (Ga.) Utilities, City of Tallahassee (Fla.), Georgia Transmission Corporation, Jacksonville (Fla.) Electric Authority; the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia; Santee Cooper (S.C.), Southern Company and South Mississippi Electric Power Association have signed to work for the formation of a regional transmission organization.

If the transmission owners prove successful in their efforts to develop an RTO, the RTO would be one of the nation`s largest, covering more than 39,000 miles of transmission with an investment in assets in excess of $6 billion.

Each participant has expressed excitement about taking this major step toward RTO development. The group hopes to establish as expeditiously as possible an RTO consistent with the requirements of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The companies also made it clear that the process is not being controlled by any individual transmission owner but rather all participants will help establish the rules by which they will operate and make decisions. All the owners want to ensure reliability for their customers.

Once the participants agree on process and principles, they will begin discussions to choose a third party operator and begin working on the design of the RTO in preparation for a formal filing with FERC, targeted for Dec. 15, 2001.

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a super-regional energy company with more than 32,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Southeast and 26,000 miles of transmission lines, serving 4 million customers. It is one of the largest producers of electricity in the U.S.

Alabama Electric Cooperative is a generation and transmission cooperative providing wholesale electricity to 21 member distribution systems – 17 in Alabama and four in Florida. Its peak load is 1,800 megawatts.

Dalton Utilities is a full-service utility providing electric, water, wastewater, natural gas and telecommunications services to the city of Dalton, Ga., and portions of Whitfield, Murray, Gordon, Floyd and Catoosa counties in Georgia.

City of Tallahassee maintains more than 2,200 miles of transmission and distribution lines, serving some 98,000 homes and businesses in the Tallahassee, Fla., area.

Georgia Transmission Corporation is a not-for-profit cooperative owned by 39 Electric Membership Corporations in Georgia. GTC owns approximately $910 million in assets, including more than 2,400 miles of transmission lines and 500 substations across the state.

JEA, formerly known as Jacksonville Electric Authority, is a municipally owned electric supplier serving 350,000 customers in a four-county area of northeast Florida.

Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power) is a joint-action state authority providing wholesale electric generation and transmission to 48 city or county owned electric systems in Georgia. MEAG Power is one of the largest public power entities in the United States.

Santee Cooper is South Carolina`s state-owned electric and water utility and the state`s largest seller of power. The utility is the direct and indirect source of power for 1.6 million South Carolinians and maintains 4,223 miles of transmission lines. Based on energy sales, Santee Cooper is the nation`s fourth largest publicly owned electric utility among state, municipal and district systems.

South Mississippi Electric Power Association is a non-profit wholesale electric power cooperative serving the power requirements of the 350,000 retail consumers of its 11-member distribution cooperatives in the state of Mississippi.