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Bonneville Power Administration

10/14/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/14/2021 11:23

Meet Transmission EIM Settlements: The team that doesn’t settle for less

Photo by Rob Meyers

The Transmission EIM Settlements team is forging new ground. With the Bonneville Power Administration's decision to join the Western Energy Imbalance Market, the agency will need to successfully process market settlements - that is, ensure accurate charges and payments for transmission-related EIM transactions.

Each business day, our team will review and validate settlement statements representing EIM activity for the entire BPA balancing authority area. We'll compare these against shadow statements made up of internal data that give us a sense of what to expect ahead of the statements sent from the EIM operator, the California Independent System Operator. Also, just like you might review your purchase receipts to make sure you were charged correctly or received applicable discounts, we will review weekly invoices from CAISO and ensure timely payment and receipt of funds.

I love my job because everyone shares the same focus and vision. These are exciting times, learning and working together to build something new in support of a regional venture. Collaborating on this grid modernization project has created a family-like culture where everybody supports each other.

Joe Chambers

The Transmission EIM Settlements team will also be responsible for providing supplemental data to customers to verify the suballocation of EIM charges or credits on their new EIM services bill. This would be like your credit card company or bank sending you a mini statement each week so there are no surprises in your monthly bill. Our team will answer customer questions regarding the supplemental data and their EIM bill, as well as manage disputes with the CAISO and/or BPA customers.

How does your project support BPA's mission and strategy?

This new team, in collaboration with our counterpart in Power Services, oversees the transmission side of the EIM Settlements Implementation project. This is one of 35 projects that support BPA's Grid Modernization Key Strategic Initiative to increase automation, improve accuracy and enhance visibility into how the federal power and transmission systems function in real time. This work is essential for the agency to remain the region's leading wholesale power provider of choice amidst the changing electric utility landscape.

The Transmission EIM Settlements team is ensuring BPA has the systems, processes and people to fully recover EIM function costs by ensuring that all charges or credits invoiced from the CAISO are accounted for and allocated to the appropriate parties

Wyndi Guajardo

How is your project supporting BPA's efforts to reduce its costs or create more benefits?

The EIM Settlements Implementation project is necessary for BPA to take part in the EIM and benefits BPA by maximizing the value of the agency's resources. One primary benefit of joining the EIM is that participating entities can dispatch generation economically to supply load in BPA's balancing authority area. Additionally, the EIM provides a more precise, effective and cost-efficient mechanism to manage moderate amounts of intrahour congestion.

More specific to the project benefits, the EIM is an organized market that will include a series of charges and credits for participation, and the EIM Settlements application will allow BPA to accurately account for EIM market transactions, including charges and credits that will ultimately be passed on to customers. Along a similar vein, in support of the settlements function, the Transmission EIM Settlements team will manage the EIM dispute process for the agency and our customers. Our team will also provide post-market feedback to Transmission Operations to influence market adjustments, and lastly, will work with those on the Power Services side of the project team to implement the new systems and processes, and train staff ahead of BPA joining the market in March 2022.

What is this team's biggest priority?

Our biggest priority is the successful implementation of the software and processes needed to execute the transmission EIM settlements functionality by BPA's EIM go-live date in March 2022. To achieve this goal, the team is hard at work onboarding members, testing new software and training all team members to use it, while also educating BPA's customers on what to expect. Getting the Transmission EIM Settlements team and customers ready is essential for BPA joining the EIM next spring.

How do you resolve differences or develop a common understanding across a group of people with varied work experiences and technical backgrounds? And/or do some of the technical requirements of the project present new challenges?

The Transmission EIM Settlements team faced the unforeseen challenge of standing up a brand-new organization during the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given BPA's current policy of maximum telework, the team has not had the opportunity to meet in person. Despite these challenges, the team is quickly coalescing into a cohesive unit focused on a common goal, leveraging the unique background each member brings to the team.

In addition to creating a new organization, the team will face some new technical challenges related to the volume of data that will need to be reviewed and processed. When BPA goes live with the EIM, data will be flowing at 5-minute intervals for all load, generation and interchange within BPA's balancing authority. Reviewing the data associated with EIM charge codes, the team's settlement analysts will be processing hundreds of thousands of data points per customer each month. We are very lucky to have a diverse team with members who have significant experience working at BPA and with big data.

What makes this team successful?

Each team member brings individual skills, expertise and knowledge to the Transmission EIM Settlements team, but we share a mutual passion of striving toward successful completion of the project. This group is highly motivated, and we enjoy doing the work we do. Creating a new capability within the agency allows for a certain amount of creativity not found in other areas.