Energy transmission agency to open center in Little Rock | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Energy transmission agency to open center in Little Rock

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Entergy's decision in 2011 to join the Midcontinent Independent System Operator for handling interstate power transmission likely was a factor in a Little Rock development announcement today.

MISO is going to open a regional operations center in Little Rock. It will employ 35 to 50 people making $85,000 a year on average. Entergy hopes to save money by joining MISO. It has been in an unusual contract with the Southwest Power Pool, a major regional transmission operation, that is headquartered in Little Rock. MISO hopes to complete a new agreement with Entergy within three months. The state Public Service Commission has given conditional approval.

News release from the state's economic develoment agency follows:

Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a regional transmission organization that oversees cost-effective delivery of electric power through competitive wholesale markets, today announced it will expand its presence in Arkansas by adding a regional operations center in Little Rock. The facility will serve as the hub for MISO’s new Southern Region. The company plans to hire 35 to 50 highly-skilled employees with an average salary of about $85,000 per year. Compared with similar facilities, MISO expects to invest between $5-8 million in the new facility.

The move will accommodate MISO’s expanded footprint as it integrates the four-state Entergy operating companies along with several area transmission owners and generators into the MISO system. Entergy Arkansas projects savings of $263 million to its customers over the first 10 years of MISO membership.

“To bring those tangible benefits to consumers, we’re establishing roots in the Southern Region to help serve all of our new stakeholders and consumers,” said John R. Bear, President and CEO of MISO. “Opening this facility in the Little Rock area will provide a command center for the Southern Region so MISO can ensure greater reliability and lower costs across the region while maintaining its close connection to state interests and stakeholders.”

MISO is evaluating potential sites in the Little Rock area for its new operations center, which will house MISO real-time operations personnel, market operations staff, customer service representatives, government and regulatory affairs staff, information technology, and key support personnel. It will also include facilities to accommodate training and meetings.

“MISO determined that Little Rock is the best fit for MISO,” continued Bear. “Arkansas has a highly-skilled workforce that is familiar with the work we do because of established college-level programs throughout the state.”

MISO expects to finalize a site location within the next few months.

“MISO’s arrival marks the latest set of well-paying, knowledge-based jobs created in Arkansas,” Governor Mike Beebe said. “Our innovative programs of cooperation between our higher-education system and the private sector have produced a workforce well-prepared to help MISO succeed.”

“Little Rock continues to prove it is a great place to do business,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. “I’m excited about MISO’s decision to locate in Little Rock and I look forward to their investment in the Little Rock community. With the addition of these new private sector jobs, Little Rock’s future looks stronger every day.”

About MISO
MISO ensures reliable operation of, and equal access to high-voltage power lines in 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO manages one of the world’s largest energy markets, with more than $18 billion in annual gross market energy transactions. MISO was approved as the nation’s first regional transmission organization in 2001. The not-for-profit organization is governed by an independent board of directors and is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana, with operations centers in Carmel and St. Paul, Minnesota.

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