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BOSR and RIF – Important contributors to the WEIM’s success
By Thad LeVar, chair of the Body of State Regulators, and Vijay Satyal, chair of the Regional Issues Forum
June 24, 2022
The Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM) Body of State Regulators (BOSR) and Regional Issues Forum (RIF) are important stakeholder groups that share information, encourage participation, and provide feedback to the WEIM Governing Body and ISO Board of Governors on WEIM-related issues. By engaging a diverse group of key stakeholders from across the Western Interconnection, the BOSR and RIF play an essential role in supporting the WEIM Governing Body in its efforts to promote, protect, and expand the success of the WEIM for the benefit of all participants.
The WEIM has been bolstered by the strong governance and committee structure developed and revised by stakeholders to include these important committees and to recognize their contribution to exploring the evolution of market opportunities. We recently asked the chairs of both entities to co-author a blog post about their important role in informing the WEIM and related stakeholder processes.
Diversity has always been pivotal to the success of the WEIM and that success requires diversity of participants, perspectives, and resources. When the WEIM kicked off in 2014, that necessary diversity was buttressed by the creation of the BOSR and was further strengthened the following year with the creation of the RIF. These two entities work towards the joint goal of promoting transparency and collaboration among stakeholders with an interest in the progress of the WEIM. They have been instrumental to providing stakeholders with a strong voice in decision-making processes that have contributed to WEIM’s success and that continue to inform the development of the ISO’s initiative for an Extended Day-Ahead Market, or EDAM.
Body of State Regulators
The Body of State Regulators is an independent, self-governing states committee that advises the WEIM Governing Body and ISO Board of Governors on WEIM-related matters of interest to western state regulators. It is comprised of one representative of each regulatory commission with jurisdiction over a load-serving utility participating in the WEIM. The current makeup of the BOSR includes utility commission representatives from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. These commissioners come from diverse backgrounds and bring different state perspectives and goals to BOSR deliberations. Some are elected officials, others are appointed to their positions. Although jurisdiction and policy objectives are defined by individual states, a common objective of each commission is to ensure that regulated (generally investor-owned) utilities provide customers with reliable electric service at just and reasonable rates. Each member of the BOSR is invested in the economic fairness and success of the WEIM. The ability of the WEIM to promote clean energy objectives is also salient for BOSR members in connection with the policies and objectives of their individual states and commissions.
One recent structural enhancement to the BOSR has appreciably upgraded the group’s ability to consider and reflect greater diversity. During the past year, the BOSR has been joined by liaisons who represent three sectors: consumer-owned utilities, public-owned utilities, and the federal power marketing administrations. These liaisons have enhanced BOSR discussions on issues facing the WEIM.
The BOSR has three primary substantive responsibilities as outlined in its charter, including: participation as a sector providing input to the WEIM Nominating Committee that nominates candidates to fill open seats on the WEIM Governing Body; informing BOSR members about the design and operation of the WEIM; and creating an outlet for BOSR members to provide input to the WEIM Governing Body. The BOSR actively performs all three functions, and has focused its formal, written input on issues where there is general consensus among BOSR members. Because of the diversity in membership, consensus isn’t possible on every issue. But there is enough trust and respect among members to recognize issues where consensus is elusive and to focus our attention on opportunities where consensus is viable. One recent example was a process involving several months during which BOSR members learned about and discussed the WEIM’s resource sufficiency initiative, culminating in formal comments to the WEIM Governing Body. As chair of the BOSR, I am encouraged that those comments were so well received. We’re currently engaging in a similar process to evaluate the Day-Ahead Market Enhancements third revised straw proposal.
As the WEIM continues to evolve to meet the reliability, affordability, and sustainability objectives of stakeholders across the Western Interconnection, I look forward to the BOSR’s continued role in that evolution.
Regional Issues Forum
The WEIM Regional Issues Forum also plays an important role in providing stakeholder feedback and perspectives to the WEIM Governing Body and ISO Board of Governors. Similar to BOSR, the RIF is an independent, self-governing body that includes a diverse group of stakeholders. These stakeholders represent various sectors from across the Western Interconnection, including: WEIM entities; ISO participating transmission owners; public and consumer interest advocates; consumer-owned utilities located within an EIM balancing authority; independent power producers and marketers; and federal power marketing administrations. Collectively, these stakeholders bring a broad range of experience, interests, and priorities to the table, helping to inform decisions of the WEIM Governing Body and ISO Board of Governors.
The role of the RIF has evolved since its creation in December 2015 and, in the spring of 2021, a revised WEIM Charter expanded the scope of RIF’s purview to include ongoing ISO stakeholder processes. The RIF is responsible for holding at least three public meetings annually and for reporting to the WEIM Governing Body on the forum’s activities. The RIF essentially serves as a convening body, providing an open forum for a broad group of stakeholders to learn about the WEIM and related ISO developments, to openly share ideas about the WEIM and related stakeholder processes, and to provide feedback to the WEIM Governing Body and ISO Board of Governors without displacing existing ISO stakeholder processes and the regular approval processes. The forum serves as an important vehicle for discussing and channeling the perspectives of a diverse set of RIF sector representatives to the WEIM Governing Body, ISO Board of Governors and ISO staff.
RIF sector liaisons help guide and manage the forum’s business, work with their sectors to identify topics for thoughtful deliberation, and work within the forum to explore the breadth and depth of ISO market design issues such as price formation, resource sufficiency enhancements or day-ahead market changes. Since being selected to serve as RIF chair in January, I have been pleased to help act as sector liaison for the Public Interest sector and to caucus with my peer liaisons, who possess a very deep bench of experience and expertise on ISO market operations and WEIM processes. The RIF is entering an exciting phase as we explore expanding the forum’s scope to learn about, discuss, and deliberate upon ongoing ISO initiatives, while also exploring pertinent existing stakeholder issues or ISO processes that deserve equal attention. I look forward to being part of this constructive dialogue that offers valuable feedback to the WEIM Governing Body and ISO Board of Governors from all RIF sectors and hope we can help shape and improve policies to make the WEIM even more successful than it has already been.
Thad LeVar, chair of the Body of State Regulators, has been on the Public Service Commission of Utah since 2012 and has served as its chair since 2015. Vijay Satyal, chair of the Regional Issues Forum, is Regional Energy Markets Manager for Western Resources Advocates, a non-profit that works to advance cleaner energy and environmental protection in the West.
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