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Understanding the ISO Next

The ISO manages the flow of electricity across the high-voltage, long-distance power lines that make up 80 percent of California’s and a small part of Nevada’s grid. The nonprofit public benefit corporation keeps power moving to homes and communities, and keeps the economy humming.


As the only independent grid operator in the western U.S., the ISO grants equal access to 26,000 circuit miles of transmission lines and coordinates competing and diverse energy resources into the grid where it is distributed to consumers. It also operates a competitive wholesale power market designed to promote a broad range of resources at lower prices.

Every five minutes, the ISO forecasts electrical demand and dispatches the lowest cost generator to meet demand while ensuring enough transmission capacity for delivery of power.

The ISO opened its two California control centers in 1998 as the state restructured its wholesale electricity industry. While utilities still own transmission assets, the ISO controls the routing of electrons, maximizing transmission system efficiency and generation resources, and supervising maintenance of the lines. As the nerve center for the power grid, the ISO matches buyers and sellers of electricity, facilitating over 28,000 market transactions every day to ensure enough power is on hand to meet demand.

Why work at ISO?

The role of the California ISO
The electricity industry includes traditional utilities, private power plant owners and state and federal agencies...
Why work at ISO?
How power flows in California
The California ISO network is a
long-distance, high-voltage transmission system that delivers wholesale electricity...​

Competition brings transparency
More than 150 core transmission and generation companies participate in the ISO market, which is used to allocate...​
The ISO grid
The ISO manages the flow of electricity for about 80 percent of California and a small part of Nevada, which...​
Why work at ISO?
ISO history
Before the establishment of independent transmission operators, electricity was a matter
of local concern...​
Opening access
The California ISO is one of 9 independent system operators in North America that collectively
deliver 2.2 million...​

Control center and high-tech control centers
Grid reliability is a 24-hour-a-day job requiring California ISO operators in to assess the status of the transmission...​

Why ISOs/RTOs are good for America
ISOs and RTOs enhance reliability and grid dispatch efficiency while ensuring better price transparency...​

Grid planning
The ISO conducts an annual transmission planning process that uses engineering analysis to identify any grid expansions...​

Why work at ISO?
Getting green on the grid
The key to reliably integrating renewable generation is to maintain a broad power mix with traditional generators and advanced...
Why work at ISO?
People power
With advancements in automation and smart technology, consumers are becoming sellers, not just buyers of electricity...

What we stand for
We strive to be a world-class transmission organization built around a globally-recognized and inspired team providing...

Understanding electricity
One megawatt equals one million watts or 1,000 kilowatts, roughly enough electricity for the instantaneous demand of 750 homes at once...