Western Area Power Administration works with many regulating entities within the electrical industry to meet industry standards and guidelines. These entities include:
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission does not have jurisdiction over WAPA for most purposes, WAPA is a transmitting utility subject to FERC jurisdiction under section 211 of the Federal Power Act. However, because WAPA is a major transmission system owner and provides wholesale electricity across the West, we voluntarily choose to follow many FERC rules.
FERC does have final authority over WAPA's rates not as a matter of law, but by virtue of a delegation order signed by the Secretary of Energy. The Commission may confirm, approve and place the final rate in effect, reject it or send it back to WAPA for further study. In addition, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has expanded FERC's authority over WAPA . The Act gives FERC increased authority to issue rules governing how market price information is published, to obtain market price and availability information from any market participant, including WAPA , and to publish rules prohibiting market manipulation. In addition, the Act allows FERC to order WAPA to provide comparable open access and transmission service under terms that are not discriminatory or show preference. It also grants FERC refund authority over WAPA under section 206 of the Federal Power Act to achieve a just rate if WAPA makes a voluntary short-term sale of electric energy through an organized market. The Act further expands FERC's jurisdiction over WAPA by requiring WAPA to comply with certain filing and notice provisions defined in the Federal Power Act.
FERC's review of WAPA's rates is much more limited than the manner in which it regulates Investor Owned Utilities. FERC reviews WAPA's rates to ensure that they are adequate to cover WAPA's costs and may reject WAPA’s decisions only if it finds they are arbitrary, capricious or in violation of law or regulation. WAPA's Administrator develops a final proposed rate, which is then sent to the Deputy Secretary of Energy to confirm, approve and either placed into effect on an interim basis or proceed directly to FERC for final approval. Next, the rate is sent to FERC. FERC may then confirm, approve and place the final rate in effect, reject it or send it back to WAPA for further study.
North American Electric Reliability Council
WAPA is a member of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool, two of 10 reliability councils of the North American Electric Reliability Council. WAPA dispatchers also operate WAPA's system under NERC operating criteria. Each system dispatcher must pass a test to become NERC certified. Dispatchers within the WAPA Interconnection must also be WECC certified.
Regional Transmission Organizations
RTOs are independent, membership-based, nonprofit organizations designed to ensure reliability of the system. They coordinate generation and transmission across large geographic areas on behalf of their members, matching generation to load on a day-ahead basis and in real time. WAPA is negotiating with the Southwest Power Pool to join that RTO and works with several others as neighbors and interested stakeholders. Before joining any RTO, WAPA would complete a business case to ensure membership is consistent with our statutory obligations and the benefits outweigh costs and also conduct a public process.