EL CENTRO – During the Imperial Irrigation District’s regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting today, officials stated that they expect the district to reach a settlement in principle with staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week bringing to a close its investigation of the district’s involvement in the events surrounding the Sept. 8, 2011 outage.
“Expected terms of the agreement call for IID, without admitting liability or wrongdoing, to acknowledge and accept certain factual premises of the investigation into the 2011 outage, and to pay a fine with an anticipated cumulative value of up to $12 million, based on several alleged violations of reliability standards pertaining to its operation of the bulk electric system,” said IID general manager Kevin Kelley. “Of this amount, it is proposed that no more than $3 million would be paid to FERC and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and $9 million would be applied to physical improvements to the IID system.”
Discussions with FERC and NERC have been ongoing but had to be treated in confidence until FERC enforcement staff received settlement authority from the commission. IID was advised late last week that this authority had been granted and IID chose to disclose the settlement in principle at the next available public meeting of its own board. This is the first opportunity provided IID by FERC to announce the terms of the settlement in principle to the public.
The physical improvements IID has committed to making under this settlement in principle will result in a stronger IID system. In combination with IID’s Strategic Transmission Expansion Plan currently before the California Independent System Operator, these capital projects include a significant investment in battery storage, new 500-kV transmission paths for greater export of renewable energy from the IID balancing authority to the east and west, as well as a fortified 230-kV loop within the IID energy service territory, all of which are considered essential to not only the integrity of the IID balancing authority but to the larger western grid.