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Energy Officials from Louisiana Threatening to Withdraw from Interstate Power Grid

On Wednesday, the Louisiana Public Service Commission may take a step toward exiting the interstate power grid, which has allowed power providers other than Entergy and Cleco to supply electricity to Louisiana for the past decade. The proposal was placed on the commission’s upcoming Nov. 17 meeting schedule by District 1 Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who represents the southern portions of the state outside of New Orleans. “Provide written notice of departure from membership to MISO,” it proposes.

MISO stands for Midcontinent Independent System Operator, and it is a non-profit organization that oversees the power system in 15 states and Manitoba, Canada. After receiving a report from two experts who voiced worry about wind turbine projects that MISO is contemplating licensing in various northern regions, Skrmetta initially presented the notion to withdraw at the commission’s previous meeting on Oct. 20. Membership in the MISO system has several advantages, including borrowing electricity from other states in times of need.

According to Simon Mahan, executive director of the Southern Renewable Energy Association, as much of Texas is not connected to an interstate power grid like MISO, the February winter storm power blackout in Texas lasted several days. Membership also allows power firms to buy and sell electricity at wholesale costs from other states, creating competition in Louisiana, where there are only one or two power providers, according to Mahan.

According to Entergy’s 2020 market research, Louisiana MISO membership saved customers an estimated $63 million last year and a total of $698 million between 2014 and 2020. According to Mahan, MISO allocates projects between its southern and northern members not to pay for initiatives that they don’t profit from.

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