MISO to divide customer service into three regions

With the pending integration of Entergy (NYSE:ETR) into the Midcontinent ISO (MISO), the RTO is adopting a three-region model to provide more efficient and effective customer service, stakeholder and regulator relations.

The organization’s leadership announced the change to its employees in a July 19 memo and externally at the NARUC Summer Committee Meetings in Denver July 23.

“With the addition of Entergy into our footprint, MISO [will] become the largest RTO in North America incorporating 15 states, the province of Manitoba, and the city of New Orleans,” John Bear, MISO president and CEO, said in the employee memo.

The regional model is intended to enable MISO to work more closely with its stakeholders on a day-to-day basis.

”It should give us better feedback from our regions,” Aldie Warnock, MISO’s senior vice president of external affairs, said. “The challenges in North Dakota and what they’re going through are different than what Arkansas is going through versus Michigan. It’ll give us a better regional touch with our regulators and our members.”

The RTO will have three offices serving states grouped into three regions. The central region will consist of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Missouri. The northern region will serve Iowa, Manitoba, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The southern region will serve Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Orleans and Texas.

The central and northern regions, which are already part of MISO’s footprint, will be served from the organizations main headquarters in Carmel, Ind., and from the company’s existing office in metropolitan St. Paul, Minn. In preparation for the Entergy merger, the company will open an office in Little Rock, Ark., in the near future to serve the southern region.

MISO’s current vice president of customer and stakeholder relations, Todd Hillman, will become regional vice president of the southern region. The RTO has yet to fill similar positions for the central and northern regions.

The regional executives will be charged with getting to know the regions and understanding the different challenges that face the different areas.

“We want to try to up our ante with the policymakers and understand the different regional needs, as well as our customers who are in those regions,” Warnock said. “They have hurricanes [in the South]; we don’t have those in other areas.”

In addition to the customer service office, the organization is in the process of identifying a location in the Little Rock area for its third control center that will primarily serve the new area. MISO also operates control centers in Carmel and St. Paul. The MISO markets will continue to be centralized and will continue to serve the entire footprint.