New book offers PJM as blueprint for RTOs and ISOs

The Pennsylvania, Jersey and Maryland power pool (PJM) has long been regarded as a technically advanced and forward-thinking power pool. Now a new analysis would make PJM a blueprint for other Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) or Independent System Operators (ISOs).

PJM is a prototypical tight power pool. Before becoming an ISO in 1997, the power pool operated a pool-wide transmission tariff and a bid-based energy market throughout a single control area comprising all or part of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia, reports author Jeremiah D. Lambert.

Through its control center, located near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, PJM coordinates the operation of about 540 generators encompassing more than 58,000 MW of installed capacity, available to supply a 14,100-mile transmission grid covering nearly 50,000 square miles.

Since 1997, PJM has been the nation’s only full-function ISO, Lambert said. In that capacity PJM:

“- centrally schedules and dispatches the installed capacity and wholesale transmission in six jurisdictions

“- performs the functions of the North American Electric Reliability Council regional reliability area coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region

“- operates five energy markets, including a real-time power exchange that is a vibrant wholesale spot market for electricity

“- is responsible for preparing and implementing regional transmission expansion planning

“- operates a single, uniform tariff for all transmission customers

The comprehensive model of the nation’s largest power pool provides a window on state-of-the-art solutions to complex organizational, managerial, technical and regulatory issues that cut across an entire industry in transition.

With help from PJM, energy lawyer Jeremiah D. Lambert compares and contrasts PJM with other ISOs on key issues such as governance, structure and transmission pricing.

Lambert’s comparison is intended to help readers:

“- successfully structure RTO or ISO projects

“- follow legal/regulatory guidelines

“- develop best-practice standards in RTO/ISO structures

About the author

Jeremiah D. Lambert, a partner in Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P., Washington, D.C. is a nationally recognized lawyer representing clients in the energy industry including PJM Interconnection LLC. In recent years he has focused on issues presented in connection with the restructured electric power market and has served as an advisor to the NYMEX in connection with electricity futures contracts.

The book is available online from PennWell’s book store at For more information, call 1-800-752-9764 or e-mail


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