SPP CEO ‘very disappointed’ with Colorado utility’s exit from Mountain West Transmission Group
Southwest Power Pool CEO Nick Brown said Tuesday that Friday’s announcement by Xcel Energy unit Public Service Co. of Colorado that it was exiting Mountain West Transmission Group “caught us by a great deal of surprise and shock.”
“I am very disappointed, I will be frank,” Brown said at the beginning of the SPP Board of Directors meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. “It would be a shame for any individual participant of Mountain West to unilaterally destroy the value that will be afforded to members of Mountain West Transmission Group.”
On March 13, the SPP board approved policies that would govern the integration of MWTG into SPP. MWTG at that point included PSCo, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Black Hills Energy, Colorado Springs Utilities, Platte River Power Authority, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and the Western Area Power Administration’s Loveland Area Projects and Colorado River Storage Project. These utilities collectively serve all or parts of Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Xcel Energy said it was withdrawing PSCo, which covers much of Colorado at the center of MWTG’s footprint, because of concerns about “limited benefits for the company’s 1.4 million customers in Colorado; lack of market expansion opportunities for the MWTG; and increasing uncertainty over the costs” associated with participating in SPP.
“Obviously, the ball is in the court of the remaining members of Mountain West Transmission Group,” Brown said.
“We remain committed to [doing] whatever it takes to come to a reasonable path forward to the value” that had been projected to result from integrating MWTG with SPP, Brown said.
During the part of the meeting originally slated for discussion of MWTG integration, SPP Board Chairman Jim Eckelberger said the policy recommendations approved March 13 “are in abeyance” as stakeholders consider their next steps.
Eckelberger called an executive session at the end of Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the subject, including several letters submitted by existing SPP members who asked the board to reconsider its approval of the policy recommendations.