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Back Keeping the Power Flowing: It's What We Do


Keeping the Power Flowing: It's What We Do

May 23, 2019

When we sum up our mission, we like to say we have one overarching goal: to keep the power flowing, at all times.

That’s what we refer to when we talk about reliability: the ability to continually keep electricity moving over the 11,173 circuit-miles of high-voltage transmission lines that we manage, from the densely-packed heart of Manhattan to the most remote regions of upstate. Hospitals depend on us, as do businesses, schools, traffic lights, and homes. When we do our jobs correctly, most people don’t even notice.

The concept is simple, but the system that runs it is not. The energy grid is an incredibly complex entity, and in recent years it has become more complex than ever before.

Our 3,000-pages of Tariffs include rules and requirements on reliability that govern everything we do. Our wholesale energy markets bring together power suppliers, transmission owners, and local distribution companies and utilities. The markets bring both reliability and economic benefit to New Yorkers by continuously meeting energy needs with the least-cost energy resources available.

   The price of electricity at any given time reflects the needs of the system, and provides an incentive to suppliers to maximize efficiency and invest in new technology in areas where it is most needed.

It’s all overseen from our control room, where skilled operators constantly maintain this electrical juggling act, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Planning for a Reliable Future Grid

Reliability planning is critical to maintaining grid integrity. Our planning processes include ten-year need forecasts. This allows developers and investors to assess and assume the risks of investing in new resources, in order to avoid imposing investment risk onto consumers. We identify and determine reliability needs through our comprehensive planning process.

Every two years, we perform a reliability assessment that looks at grid needs over the next decade, followed by a reliability plan to address any issues found in that study. Our most recent Reliability Needs Assessment, in 2018, looked at available resources, and the expectation of new generation coming online or old generation being retired. It also looked at transmission facilities that may be overloaded due to grid limitations.

Following the assessment, we conduct a Comprehensive Reliability Plan, which details our plan for continued reliability of the bulk power system over 10 years. This plan is used to resolve any reliability needs found in the assessment. Our most recent Comprehensive Reliability Plan was reviewed by the NYISO Operating Committee and Management Committee in May.

We will continue to assess and respond to the changing needs of the New York energy grid, confident in our ability to keep the lights on in New York.

For more on this topic, see Power Trends 2019: Reliability and a Greener Grid web page.

We are an independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system, and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.