Salt River Project to Join Western Energy Imbalance Market

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Another utility is joining the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) that has been saving two Berkshire Hathaway utilities, PacifiCorp and NV Energy, millions of dollars a year.

The Salt River Project (SRP) signed an agreement for the Phoenix-based municipal utility to participate in the EIM beginning in April 2020.

“The EIM produces efficient use of resources and lower costs of energy for participating utilities,” said Steve Berberich, ISO President and CEO. “We welcome Salt River Project to the western EIM and look forward to working with the utility for a seamless entry in 2020.”

SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix area. It serves more than 1 million customers and is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water.

It is estimated that SRP, which has been serving central Arizona since 1903, can save up to $4.5 million annually by participating in the EIM.

“The EIM can help save money for SRP and its customers by providing real-time access to the lowest cost resources across a significant portion of the Western grid,” said John Coggins, Senior Director of Power Delivery. “It will complement SRP owned generating resources and energy purchases from the wholesale market.”

The western EIM’s advanced market systems automatically find the lowest-cost energy to serve real-time consumer demands of participating utilities. This market enables utilities to buy and sell power more efficiently in the hour before the energy is needed, with five-minute plant dispatching, which result in improved efficiencies and cost savings.

Current western EIM participants, which include the two Berkshire Hathaway Energy companies, have realized savings totaling nearly $142 million since the wholesale market was launched in November 2014.

Utilities now active in the western EIM include Oregon-based PacifiCorp; NV Energy of Las Vegas, NV; Puget Sound Energy of Washington state; and Arizona Public Service of Phoenix, Ariz.

Other utilities that have formally agreed to join the EIM include Portland General Electric on October 1, 2017, Idaho Power on April 1, 2018, and Seattle City Light and Balancing Area of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District on April 1, 2019.

The western EIM serves utility consumers in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.