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Maintaining Grid Reliability

The electrical grid consists of generating stations that produce electrical power, high voltage transmission lines that carry power from distant sources to demand centers and distribution lines that deliver the power to individual customers. 

As a Regional Transmission Organization, MISO does not own any elements of the electric grid. MISO manages the generation and transmission of electricity across high-voltage lines and assures consumers of unbiased regional grid management. MISO delivers the right amount of electricity to its member utilities who are then responsible for delivering the power to their customer's homes, schools, and businesses.

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Grid Operations Analogy

Managing the electric grid is, in many ways, similar to managing air traffic.

Air traffic controllers are responsible for moving people from point A to point B safely and reliably 24/7/365. They don’t own the airplanes, they don’t own the runways, they don’t own anything.

Instead of moving people, MISO operators are responsible for moving electricity. From where it is generated, to your local utilities. MISO doesn’t own the generators, the transmission lines, or any part of the electric grid.

MISO’s role as a grid operator is to make sure the right amount of electricity is generated and transmitted to utilities reliably and at the lowest possible cost 24/7/365. Our member utilities ensure the power is delivered to their customers. 

Understanding Power Outages

In the airline industry, when there aren’t enough planes or flight crews, flights get canceled. Passengers are stuck. Air traffic controllers continue to ensure travel continues for everyone else. 

In the energy industry, when there isn’t enough generation or transmission, controlled outages can occur. MISO determines when these outages are necessary. Local utilities determine which customers will be impacted. 

Like flight cancellations, controlled outages are always a last resort measure. They are implemented to protect the electric grid from collapsing and to keep power flowing to as many consumers as possible. 

Reliability Roles

The responsible entity that integrates resource plans ahead of time, maintains load-interchange-generation balance within a Balancing Authority area, and supports interconnection frequency in real time. 

The responsible entity that authorizes the implementation of valid and balanced interchange schedules between Balancing Authority areas, and ensures communications of interchange information for reliability assessment purposes.

The entity that is the highest level of authority who is responsible for the Reliable Operations of the Bulk Electric System, has the Wide Area view of the Bulk Electric System, and has the operating tools, processes and procedures, including the authority to prevent or mitigate emergency operating situations in both next-day analysis and real-time operations. The Reliability Coordinator has the purview that is broad enough to enable the calculation of Interconnection Reliability Operating Limits, which may be based on the operating parameters of transmission systems beyond any Transmission Operator's vision. 

The entity responsible for the reliability of its local transmission system, and that operates or directs the operations of the transmission facilities. 

The entity that develops a long-term (generally 1 year or beyond) plan for the reliability and adequacy of the bulk electric transmission systems within its portion of the Planning Authority area. The responsible entity that coordinates and integrates transmission facilities and service plans, resource plans, and protection systems. 

The entity that administers the transmission tariff and provides Transmission Service to Transmission Customers under applicable Transmision Service agreements.