Navigating Western-EIM Standard Operating Procedures

To run successfully, the Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) relies on timely completion of numerous operations by all market participants throughout the entire trading cycle. An integral part of this market is successful quality system is the development and use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as they provide market participants with the necessary information to perform their job properly and ensure consistency in the quality or end-result[1]. Without clearly defined and stringent SOPs, the market will collapse.

Since the stakes are so high, there is no wonder why violations of these SOPs have correspondingly heavy penalties. As a former EIM market participant with NV Energy, I believe there is absolutely no way you can avoid these violations and successfully navigate the western EIM without mastering its SOPs. Here is why:

  • Real-Time Changing Conditions: Tags, transmission outages, generation outages, interruptible generation forecasts, and loads are all changing in real-time. Market participants need to understand these principles to ensure they can mitigate potential penalties and maximize their savings. Having the correct western EIM software systems in place and incorporating the Western EIM’s SOPs is the only way to manage all of these ongoing challenges.

  • Market Timing Constraints: Due to the market timing constraints, effective communication is essential between the real-time EIM operators, generation dispatch, and CAISO. Since utility operators have little time to discuss scenario options, they need a detailed understanding so they can quickly execute the ever changing plan.

  • Complexity of the Market: For many utilities considering joining the western EIM, its operational complexity can be quite daunting. Although participation in the EIM is voluntary, participating entities and non-participating entities are bound by their contractual agreements and prevailing regulatory requirements when they choose to join. In the absence of advanced automation software infrastructure, the Balancing Authorities (BAs), merchant operators, and other market participants would simply be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data they are required to regularly compute and exchange with the western EIM.

Gaining a better understanding of the SOPs and the solutions that are available to support you can only serve you well. No matter where you are on your journey, the Navigating the Western EIM Standard Operating Procedures e-book is extremely useful as it lays out the different procedures, for specific market operators, within all of the market phases in an easy-to-read manner. I highly recommend it!

About the author:
Gray Wright led and oversaw the successful integration of NV Energy into the western EIM. As liaison, he executed vendor development processes, created statements of work, and tested systems for accuracy. Mr. Wright is an expert on the EIM with more than 30 years in the energy industry. In his current role as Senior Technical Consultant at OATI, he provides leadership and technical insight to OATI systems and projects. Mr. Wright is an expert in systems integration and transmission computer systems. He has led initiatives involving Energy Management Systems (EMS), Energy Accounting Systems, and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP).


[1] EPA’s definition and importance of SOPs referenced: EPA Guidance for Preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), EPA QA/G-6, page 6, March 2001.