RTOs and Regulatory Agencies 101
Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO)

Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) like MISO are responsible for overseeing and managing the electric power transmission grid across a specific geographic region. Its functions include:

  • Operating the transmission system to ensure reliability
  • Planning for future transmission needs
  • Facilitating wholesale electricity markets to promote competition and lower costs
  • Implementing policies to enhance access to the transmission system
  • Overseeing transmission pricing and tariffs

RTOs are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and monitored for compliance and accountability by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent US agency responsible for regulating and overseeing the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil.

FERC's role for the power grid includes:

  • Regulating wholesale electricity markets and ensuring fair competition
  • Approving or denying proposals for new transmission infrastructure projects
  • Establishing standards for reliability and security of the power grid
  • Overseeing Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs)
  • Enforcing compliance with federal energy laws and regulations


North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a non-profit organization responsible for ensuring the reliability and security of the bulk power system in North America.

NERC's role for the power grid includes:

  • Developing and enforcing standards for power system operation and planning
  • Monitoring the power grid to identify and address reliability issues
  • Facilitating communication and collaboration among industry stakeholders
  • Conducting research to improve power system reliability and security
  • Providing training and support to industry stakeholders.

In 2007, FERC approved agreements by which NERC delegates its authority to monitor and enforce compliance to eight regional entities. MISO's footprint is in the three following regional entities:

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