Coming together to create a smarter & stronger North American power grid

The IRC: Shaping Our Energy Future

By sharing innovative ideas and real-world best practices, IRC members work together to build a smarter and more efficient electric grid that’s well prepared to serve the North American power market and its consumers, today and tomorrow.

The Role of ISOs and RTOs

Ever wonder what ISOs/RTOs actually do?

From integrating a diverse mix of power resources onto the electric grid reliably, to orchestrating the generation and transmission of electricity for two-thirds of North America, ISOs and RTOs match power generation instantaneously with demand to keep the lights on. Harnessing a commodity and then moving it at the speed of light across thousands of miles of high-voltage wires involves sophisticated coordination among utilities, energy generators and other resource suppliers, as well as consumers. The ultimate goal is to ensure access to affordable, reliable and sustainable power – made possible through efficient administration of independent and transparent wholesale energy markets. ISO and RTO innovation supports the latest advancements in smart grid technologies, improving the resiliency and reliability of the grid, making energy transmission more efficient, smarter and cost effective.

Since their creation in the mid-1990s, ISO/RTOs have grown to encompass nearly two-thirds of the US and Canada today.

IRC History

  • 1978:  Federal Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act initiates deregulation.
  • 1992:  National Energy Policy Act expands boundaries for competing companies.
  • Mid-90s:  Many North American regions push for wholesale competition as a way to create equal access to the transmission system and provide consumers with a choice of energy suppliers.
  • 1996:  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issues Orders 888 and 889 opening access to transmission power grids.
  • 1998:  The first independent grid operators began opening doors to electricity competition.
  • 2003:  ISOs and RTOs join forces to create an industry-wide collaboration called the ISO/RTO Council (IRC).
  • Today:  Nine ISOs/RTOs serve two-thirds of electricity consumers in the United States and more than 50 percent of Canada’s population. Using the most advanced technologies and industry practices, IRC regional markets consistently outperform those in areas under monopoly control.

Our Members

The Nine IRC Members

Each member’s own website offers information on regional grid conditions and wholesale electricity pricing.

  • AESO (Calgary, AB)
  • CAISO (Folsom, CA)
  • ERCOT (Austin, TX)
  • IESO (Toronto, ON)
  • ISONE (Holyoke, MA)
  • MISO (Carmel, IN)
  • NYISO (Rensselaer, NY)
  • PJM (Valley Forge, PA)
  • SPP (Little Rock, AR)

IRC Committees

IRC members are committed to sharing ideas, fostering innovation and working together to advance the development of the North American electric grid. They also help to improve reliability and efficiency, while supporting ongoing sustainability of electric power delivery to millions of consumers throughout the continent. The IRC includes executive officers from the nine member ISOs/RTOs. Seven committees support the IRC’s goals and initiatives.

IRC Executive Committee

The IRC chairman rotates annually and serves as the primary point of contact as well as chief spokesperson. The IRC meets quarterly and is funded by members of the organization.

Chairman: Manu Asthana, PJM Interconnection

Mike Law, Alberta Electric System Operator
Elliot Mainzer, California ISO
Pablo Vegas, President and Chief Executive Officer, Electric Reliability Council of Texas
John Bear, MISO
Gordon van Welie, ISO New England
Rich Dewey, New York ISO
Lesley Gallinger, Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator
Barbara Sugg, Southwest Power Pool

Communications Committee

Serves as the internal and external voice of the IRC, with the goal of building awareness of the organization’s mission, sharing best practices among member ISOs/RTOs and providing communications support and counsel.

Planning Committee

Shares expertise and advice on system planning functions, practices, and activities related to the North American wholesale electric industry, and develops consensus positions on significant regulatory policy proposals to effectively integrate regulatory policy direction into ISO/RTO planning activities.

Regulatory and Legislative Committee

Shares information on regulatory and legislative issues of common interest, and coordinates individual ISO and RTO responses to regulatory and legislative initiatives. Leads the development of consensus positions on significant regulatory policy proposals and prepares joint comments on behalf of the IRC with input from the other Council committees.

Standards Review Committee

Participates in the design and development of methods, standards, and procedures for the wholesale electric market to ensure continuity and feasibility of implementation, through cooperative efforts between regulators and regional reliability organizations and the IRC, developing joint positions on reliability and business policy/standards.

Information Technology Committee

Shares expertise and advice on existing information technology functions and current activities within the North American wholesale electric industry, and makes recommendations related to approaches to IT standardization and up-and-coming innovations.

Markets Committee

Identifies areas of potential electric market standardization for ISO/RTO entities, and, as appropriate, submits recommendations to the IRC for review and approval. Communicates design ideas to the Standards Review Committee, which coordinates and builds consensus positions on policies and standards in North America.

Operating Committee

Shares expertise and advice on system operations functions, practices, and activities related to the North American wholesale electric industry, and develops consensus positions on significant regulatory policy proposals to effectively integrate regulatory policy direction into ISO/RTO operating activities.

Media Contacts

If you have an inquiry about the IRC, please contact Communications Committee Susan Buehler at PJM.

Company Name Phone Links
Alberta Electric System Operator Janice Coffin 403-539-2462 News
California ISO Oscar Hidalgo 916-342-8603 News
Electric Reliability Council of Texas Christy Penders 512-791-3450 News
ISO New England Matt Kakley 413-535-3821 News
Midcontinent ISO Mike Deising 317-450-4855 News
New York ISO Zack Hutchins 518-356-7325 News
PJM Interconnection Susan Buehler 610-666-4215 News
Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator Andrew Dow 416-506-2823 News
Southwest Power Pool Derek Wingfield 501-614-3394 News