Midwest Reliability Organization

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In 2003, a large, cascading blackout sent large portions of the Northeast United States and Canada as far west as Ohio, Ontario and Michigan, into the dark - affecting an estimated 50 million people. As a result, to ensure reliability of the bulk power system (BPS) in the United States, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 creating a new regulatory organization called the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) to establish mandatory reliability standards and monitor and enforce compliance with those standards on those who own, operate or use the BPS. Recognizing the international nature of the BPS, the ERO was formed in conjunction with Canadian authorities and considers the bilateral principles jointly developed by the two countries. In 2006, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) as the ERO under section 215(e)(4) of the Federal Power Act (FPA). In 2007, FERC approved agreements by which NERC delegates its authority to monitor and enforce compliance to eight Regional Entities; Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) is one of the eight Regional Entities. In Canada, NERC as the ERO, along with MRO, established similar arrangements with provincial authorities.

MRO operates as a cross-border Regional Entity and is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The MRO Region covers roughly one million square miles spanning the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and all or parts of the states of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The region includes more than 130 organizations that are involved in the production and delivery of electricity to more than 20 million people. These organizations include municipal utilities, cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, transmission system operators, a federal power marketing agency, Canadian Crown Corporations, and independent power producers.

MRO's primary responsibilities are to: ensure compliance with mandatory reliability standards by entities who own, operate, or use the interconnected, international Bulk Power System; conduct assessments of the grid's ability to meet electricity demand in the region; and analyze regional system events.