Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator

Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator
Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator
Type Non-profit: Independent System Operator; Regional Transmission Organization
Headquarters Carmel, Indiana
Website https://www.midwestiso.org
MISO provides open-access transmission service and monitors the high voltage transmission system throughout the Midwestern United States and in Manitoba, Canada. It operates one of the world's largest real-time energy markets.

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO) is an Independent System Operator (ISO) and the Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that provides open-access transmission service and monitors the high voltage transmission system throughout the Midwest United States and Manitoba, Canada. MISO operates one of the world’s largest real-time energy markets and has 93,600 miles of transmission lines under its direction.[1]


Definition of ISOs and RTOs

Both ISOs and RTOs are organizations formed with the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to coordinate, control and monitor the use of the electric transmission system by utilities, generators and marketers. An ISO is a non-profit organization that combines the transmission facilities of several transmission owners into a single transmission system to move energy over long distances at a single lower price than the combined charges of each utility that may be located between the buyer and seller. The ISO provides non-discriminatory service, and must be independent of the transmission owners and the customers that use its system.[2]

RTOs also provide non-discriminatory access to the transmission network; however, they are required to meet specific FERC regulations that deal with transmission planning and expansion for an entire region, the use of energy markets to deal with system congestion, of power users and owners. RTOs offer regional wholesale electric transmission services under one tariff.[2]

FERC first required transmission owners to provide non-discriminatory access to their lines in Order Nos. 888 and 889, building on the model it had used to require interstate natural gas pipelines to provide access to pipeline capacity. In those orders, FERC noted that ISOs could provide the additional assurance of independence from the owners, and the elimination of multiple (“pancaked”) rates to transmit electricity over long distances. Shortly thereafter, FERC Order No. 2000 encouraged the formation of RTO’s to regionally manage portions of North America’s electricity grid.[3]

There are ten ISOs, five of which are RTOs, operating in North America. They manage the systems that serve two thirds of the customers in the U.S., and over half the population of Canada.[3] Over time, the distinction between ISOs and RTOs in the United States has become insignificant. Both organizations provide similar transmission services under a single tariff at a single rate, and they operate energy markets within their footprints.[3]

Incorporation under FERC

MISO was established in 1998 as an ISO and was approved as the nation's first RTO by FERC in 2001. The organization is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana with operation control centers in Carmel and St. Paul, Minnesota.[4]


MISO is an independent and member-based non-profit organization. Its members include 35 transmission owners with more than $17 billion in transmission assets. Members include investor-owned utilities, public power utilities, and cooperatives, such as: Duke Energy, Indianapolis Power & Light, International Transmission Company, Great River Energy, Xcel Energy and Wabash Valley Power Association.[5]


MISO began its operation on “Day 1,” a development phase between 1998 and 2005. Throughout this period the company initiated and built up transmission services to increase grid reliability. MISO was established as an ISO in 1998 after voluntary discussions led to its formation. One year later, the first board of directors was elected and by the end of 2000 the organization had more than 70 employees. In 2001, FERC approved MISO as the nation's first RTO.[6]

In 2005 MISO announced the opening of the MISO Energy Markets. The new services ushered in MISO's “Day 2” development phase, providing a wholesale electricity market that settles $2 billion in transactions each month. During this period, MISO grew its employee base to more than 600 staff, and moved the corporate headquarters and operations center under one roof in Carmel, Indiana.[6]

MISO is entering its third phase of development. The “Day 3” period began on January 6, 2009 with the launch of the Ancillary Services Market (ASM). This market provides both energy and operating reserves as well as regulation and response services that support reliable transmission service.[6]

Value Proposition

The Value Proposition is a study demonstrating MISO’s major benefits as an RTO provider for the heartland region. MISO participants see $700 million to $900 million in annual benefits due to improvements in reliability, efficiency and development:

  • Reliability - MISO monitors the state of the grid every 30 seconds. This allows the organization to detect potential issues and identify effective responses within minutes. Its reliability function also maintains seamless management between neighboring ISO and RTO providers and ensures that all government regulations are met.
  • Efficiency – MISO maximizes the efficient use of the transmission system and energy under fluctuating power demands. The Security Constrained Economic Dispatch software matches energy needs with resources in terms of capability and price.
  • Development - Regional planning efforts have resulted in almost $ 2.2 billion in new infrastructure and improvements to the transmission system, with another $ 6.9 billion recommended for construction, within MISO’s footprint. The development of the transmission system supports the reliable operation of the interconnected grid and maintains a competitive energy market.[7]


MISO is governed by an independent eight-member Board of Directors, with seven independent directors elected by the membership, plus the president of MISO. No board member may have been a director, officer or employee of a member, user, or affiliate of a member or user for two years before or after election to the Board. Under MISO’s Standards of Conduct, all MISO board members, employees and their immediate family members are required to divest themselves of any financial holdings in member or user companies.[8]

MISO employs a staff of approximately 700 full-time employees at its two operation control centers. Mike Begley, former manager of staffing and workforce planning at MISO, wrote an August 2008 column in The New York Times, explaining the issue of maintaining a skilled workforce.

Internship program

MISO offers a summer intern program for undergraduate and graduate students. In 2009, MISO received more than 2,000 applicants for 41 intern positions. An Indianapolis Star article written in June 2008 highlighted some of the program's benefits.

NeXt Step Program

A two-year recruiting and training program that targets employees for technical and advance control room positions. The NeXt Step Program was put in place to prepare the next generation of system operators in light of the fact that almost half of MISO’s employees are approaching retirement.[9]


MISO uses a computer model called a State Estimator that analyzes real-time conditions of the Midwest’s power grid. The system has been in operation since December 31, 2003, and serves as the primary management tool for the reliability of transmission facilities throughout the organization’s footprint. The State Estimator is one of the world’s largest computer systems and provides 303,800 data points that are updated every 30 seconds.[10]


As the primary RTO for North America’s heartland, MISO carries out operational responsibilities to maintain the flow of energy.

Grid management and reliability

Data is evaluated by Reliability Coordinators and Reliability Analysts, monitoring the grid 24/7. Projecting the movement of power in real-time, Midwest ISO’s control room staff monitors and manages activity on the electric transmission system.

Infrastructure planning and energy alternatives

MISO performs regional planning in accordance with FERC principles. MISO infrastructure planning has four primary objectives:

  • provide an efficient and reliable transmission system
  • access a diverse number of energy resources, including renewable energies
  • expand energy trading opportunities
  • meet state and federal energy policy objectives[11]

MISO Markets

This open market began on April 1, 2005, and provides financial and real-time pricing of energy. MISO Markets include a a Financial Transmission Rights Market, a Day-Ahead Market, a Real-Time Market, and a market for operating reserves and regulation. They are operated and settled separately, providing a clear look at day-to-day price changes.[12]

Planning efforts

MISO Transmission Expansion Plan (MTEP)

MTEP is a long-term annual planning agreement approved by MISO. MTEP includes recommendations for transmission infrastructure additions and electric grid improvements throughout the Midwest. Since its inception in 2003, MTEP plans have recommended almost $6.9 billion in transmission projects, totaling $2.2 billion already in operation. MTEP 08 is the fifth transmission expansion plan produced by MISO.[13]

The Regional Generation Outlet Study (RGOS)

RGOS is a 5 to 15 year plan that coordinates regional transmission projects in order to meet individual state standards for renewable energy mandates. The study will examine the reliability impacts of large-scale wind integration and other sources of clean energy on the MISO footprint. RGOS will be completed in 2009 and will be included within the MTEP 09 Plan.[14]

MISO – PJM Interconnection Joint and Common Market (JCM)

In cooperation with PJM Interconnection (PJM), MISO has developed a Joint and Common Market (JCM) that aligns market rules between them, and reduces the operating impact of the many transmission interconnections between the two RTOs in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. In December 2003, the two RTOs filed a Joint Operating Agreement with FERC, detailing how the organizations will share information and phase in their respective operations.[15]

Awards and honors

  • NERC Examples of Excellence – In May 2007, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) awarded MISO six “Examples of Excellence” for its real-time operations and practices that maintain the reliability of the interconnected bulk electric system. NERC also gave MISO 13 positive observations for its commitment to employee growth and professional development.[16]
  • Computerworld Honors – MISO received two awards for IT innovation from Computerworld Magazine. In June 2007, the organization received a Computerworld honor for its implementation of an advance data storage system at its headquarters in Carmel, IN. The magazine also named Jim Schinski, former Vice President and Chief Information Officer for MISO, as one of the Premier 100 IT leaders in 2008.[17]
  • Wind Integration HonorsThe Utility Wind Integration Group(UWIG) honored MISO in March 2008 for its use of wind energy resources. MISO was recognized for incorporating economic-based planning for energy resources, as opposed to more traditional reliability-based capacity planning. It was also recognized for implementing wind energy resources into its MTEP plan.


  1. ^ "What We Do" (https). https://www.midwestiso.org/WhatWeDo/Pages/WhatWeDo.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b "FERC". http://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/rto.asp. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  3. ^ a b c "IRC Sourcebook". http://www.isorto.org/atf/cf/%7B5B4E85C6-7EAC-40A0-8DC3-003829518EBD%7D/IRC_2007%20Sourcebook.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  4. ^ "MISO Corporate Information" (https). https://www.midwestiso.org/AboutUs/Pages/AboutUs.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  5. ^ "MISO Footprint" (https). https://www.midwestiso.org/AboutUs/Locations/Pages/Locations.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  6. ^ a b c "History" (https). https://www.midwestiso.org/AboutUs/History/Pages/History.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  7. ^ "MISO Value Proposition" (https). MISO. https://www.midwestiso.org/WhatWeDo/ValueProposition/Pages/ValueProposition.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  8. ^ "Careers" (https). https://www.midwestiso.org/AboutUs/Careers/Pages/Careers.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  9. ^ ""When Experts Retire, How to Replace Them?" By Mike Begley, 9 August 2008, The New York Times" (http). 2008-08-10. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/business/10pre.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=midwest%20iso&st=cse&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  10. ^ "Improved State Estimator Gives MISO Most Comprehensive View of Power Grid" (pdf). Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator. 2004-01-15. https://www.midwestiso.org/_layouts/MISO/ECM/Redirect.aspx?ID=101217. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  11. ^ "Midwest ISO Planning" (https). Midwest ISO. https://www.midwestiso.org/Planning/Pages/Planning.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  12. ^ "MISO Continues Progress Toward Full Launch of Energy Markets" (http). TD World. 2005-02-07. http://tdworld.com/news/MISO-to-energy-markets/. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  13. ^ "MTEP '08" (pdf). Midwest ISO. 2008-11-01. https://www.midwestiso.org/_layouts/MISO/ECM/Redirect.aspx?ID=17242. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  14. ^ "MTEP 09" (pdf). MISO. 2000-12. https://www.midwestiso.org/_layouts/MISO/ECM/Redirect.aspx?ID=17208. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  15. ^ "Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., Docket Nos. ER04-375-017, ER04-375-018" (pdf). Midwest ISO. 2006-10-26. http://www.jointandcommon.com/documents/downloads/20061026-er04-375-017.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  16. ^ "MISO Recognized by NERC for Examples of Excellence" (http). MISO. 2007-05-10. http://www.nerc.com/page.php?cid=6. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  17. ^ "The 2007 Computerworld Honors Program" (http). Computerworld Honors Program. 2007-01-01. http://www.cwhonors.org/viewCaseStudy.asp?NominationID=110. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 

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