Image Courtesy: PJM Interconnection

the organization that coordinates, controls, and monitors the operation of the electrical power system within a defined multi-state territory. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) encouraged the formation of RTOs in 1999. In practice, the terms ISO and RTO is used more or less interchangeably.


Allows for a cost-effective market operation and access to a diverse generation supply across state lines


Because RTO market functions cross state lines (e.g. PJM, which serves 13 states and D.C.), they may conflict with or limit states’ ability to shape their future energy markets.

Real Talk

More renewable energy means bigger energy ramps due to changes in wind or sunlight, and RTOs will need to be reconfigured accordingly. While RTOs represent their constituent members (mostly utilities and large generators), they do respond to state utilities commissions and FERC. Find a way to be included in their typically-complicated process, whether by learning it or finding a champion to represent your community’s interests.