Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1 , 2013
CONTACT: Randy Wilkerson , 720-962-7050,


Upper Great Plains Region proposes to join Southwest Power Pool

LAKEWOOD, Colo. –The Upper Great Plains Region of Western Area Power Administration announced a recommendation to pursue formal negotiations with the Southwest Power Pool, a Regional Transmission Organization, concerning membership. The announcement was published in the Federal Register.

“This proposal to join SPP is an opportunity to keep our costs low and efficiently serve our customers in the Upper Great Plains Region,” said Upper Great Plains Regional Manager Robert Harris.

Western Administrator Mark Gabriel said, “This important business decision acknowledges the reality of changing markets in the electricity industry. Due to the unique footprint of our Upper Great Plains Region, and the growth of organized markets around that footprint, we continue to face increasing constraints and costs to reliably deliver power to our firm power customers.”

The Upper Great Plains Region markets Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin—Eastern Division power and energy to preference customers in Montana east of the Continental Divide, North Dakota, South Dakota, western Minnesota and Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Western operates the Integrated Transmission System, which is owned by Western, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and Heartland Consumers Power District.

The Upper Great Plains Region and the other IS owners have studied several forms of potential RTO participation since the 1990s. Beginning in 2011, the IS participants began to evaluate potential options of joining SPP, joining the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or continuing operations on a stand-alone basis. These studies identified the option to join SPP as having the most benefit.

Western will present a detailed explanation of the proposal and listen to customer and stakeholder comments at meetings in Lincoln, Neb.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Moorhead, Minn., or Fargo, N.D., during the 45-day comment period. Dates and locations of these meetings will be posted on the Upper Great Plains website.

Western expects to make a final decision in late 2013.

Learn more about the proposal and specific information on the public meetings on the proposal website at

Map of Upper Great Plains Region

Map of Western's Upper Great Plains Region


Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power from 56 hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 15 western and central states.  It is part of the Department of Energy.

PO Box 281213 Lakewood , CO 80228-2802 * Phone: 720-962-7050 * Toll Free: 1-800-982-4523
Fax: 720-962-7059 * E-mail: * Web site:

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