​On September 8, 2023, WAPA’s Administrator and CEO Tracey A. LeBeau ​issued a Decision Letter authorizing WAPA’s Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), Rocky Mountain region (RM) and Upper Great Plains region (UGP) to pursue final negotiations with the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) regarding Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) membership/expanded participation.

CRSP, RM, and UGP will execute Commitment Agreements by October 10, 2023. The Commitment Agreements will bind CRSP, RM, and UGP to pay their respective shares of SPP’s project implementation costs if the RTO expansion does not go live. However, if the RTO expansion does go live, CRSP, RM, and UGP will not pay for any project implementation costs under the Commitment Agreements, as those costs will be included in SPP’s administrative fees and allocated across the entire SPP RTO footprint.

If the final negotiations with SPP are successful, CRSP and RM will then execute SPP membership agreements and UGP will expand its participation in SPP. SPP RTO go-live in the Western Interconnection is projected for spring 2026.

The decision was based on the recommendation report that informed the Federal Register notice (FRN) public process; the unique marketing and transmission footprints of CRSP, RM, and UGP; and consideration of comments received during FRN and Tribal comment processes.

As part of the final negotiations, WAPA will develop implementation details for a pseudo-tie for CRSP customers from the Western Area Colorado Missouri (WACM) Balancing Authority Area (BAA) to the Western Area Lower Colorado (WALC) BAA to address CRSP customer concerns about the potential implications of RTO membership for entities outside the footprint


Since 2020, in collaboration with other major utilities in the West, CRSP and RM have been exploring full membership in the SPP RTO, and UGP has been exploring expansion of its participation in the SPP RTO in the Western Interconnection.

Participating in this initiative to expand the SPP RTO into the West is consistent with WAPA’s commitment to develop alternative ways of doing business to retain and increase the value of WAPA’s resources in a dynamic energy industry. We are committed to keeping pace with changes in the industry to ensure that we, along with our customers, are well-positioned for the continued success of our mission to safely provide reliable, cost-based hydropower and transmission to our customers and the communities we serve.


To inform this decision, on April 28, 2023, WAPA published an FRN on its recommendation to pursue final negotiations regarding SPP RTO membership. Specifically, WAPA recommended CRSP and RM pursue final negotiations regarding membership in the SPP RTO, and UGP expand its participation in the Western Interconnection. Through the FRN public process, WAPA sought written public comments from its customers, Tribes, and stakeholders on the substance of the recommendation.


In May 2023, WAPA’s Administrator and CEO met with Tribal leaders to initiate a Tribal consultation and solicit comments on the SPP RTO initiative. WAPA received three Tribal comment letters as part of the Tribal comment process and three as part of the FRN comment process (six letters total). The comments ranged from being supportive to expressing concerns. WAPA remains committed to continuing to fulfill hydropower allocations and contractual obligations to all WAPA customers, including Tribes, regardless of RTO participation.


Under the FRN, WAPA accepted comments during an initial comment period from April 28 to June 12 and a reopened comment period from June 13 to July 11, 2023. The purpose of the reopened comment period was to solicit additional comments related to CRSP’s potential membership in the SPP RTO.

Under the Tribal consultation, WAPA accepted comments during an initial comment period from May 12 to June 12 and a reopened comment period from June 13 to July 11, 2023.

Both the FRN and Tribal comments are included in the following Response Report.

Please see:

As a normal part of an FRN process, WAPA participated in non-public discussions with other entities regarding the RTO initiative during the public comment period. A summary of those discussions is po​sted(PDF). Additionally, WAPA personnel participated in industry activities and discussions regarding markets.






  • Chrystal Dean, Vice President of Enterprise Portfolio Management, Office of the Chief Operating Officer
  • Rebecca Johnson, Transmission and Power Markets Advisor, Enterprise Portfolio Management

Last modified on October 20th, 2023