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Following an official certification review process, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) has formally approved Carmel, Ind.-based Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) as the NERC-certified balancing authority (BA) for the MISO south region.

According to MISO, the system operator met with NERC, SERC Reliability Corp., ReliabilityFirst Corp., Midwest Reliability Organization and Southwest Power Pool Regional Entity representatives to discuss plans for integrating the MISO south region, including the integration of six incoming utilities into the MISO BA area.

MISO says a SERC-led certification review team (CRT) performed a site visit at MISO's headquarters in September as a part of the certification review process. The site visit included interviews with the six incoming utilities and MISO to verify basic BA operation requirements and a review of MISO-developed procedures to meet applicable standards and requirements.

MISO's energy management system, communication facilities and operator tools also underwent CRT review during the site visit, the system operator adds.

At the conclusion of the review, the CRT determined that MISO has the processes, procedures, tools, training and personnel in place to continue to reliably perform the BA function without undergoing a full re-certification from NERC, MISO reports. The CRT also found that MISO's operators are equipped with the necessary operating tools and prepared to perform the BA operations.

Beginning Dec. 19, MISO says it will coordinate all regional transmission organization activities in its expanded footprint, bringing generation capacity to approximately 196 GW.

The system operator notes that the utilities joining MISO include Cleco Corp., Lafayette Utilities System, Louisiana Energy and Power Authority, Louisiana Generating, South Mississippi Electric Power Association and Entergy.

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