Background

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 Regional Entities established across North America, of which Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) is one. In Canada, NERC as the ERO, along with MRO, established similar arrangements with provincial authorities.

Where We Are Today

MRO operates as a cross-border Regional Entity and is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The MRO Region spans the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and all or parts of the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. The region is comprised of more than 200 organizations that are involved in the production and delivery of electricity, including municipal utilities, cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, transmission system operators, federal power marketing agencies, 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 BPS; conduct assessments of the grid's ability to meet electricity demand in the region; and analyze regional system events.

Additionally, MRO creates an open forum for stakeholder experts in the region to discuss important topics related to addressing risk and improving reliable operations of the BPS. MRO serves as a vital link between BPS users, owners, operators, and other stakeholders who share common reliability interests in the region.