FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on each question to link down to the answers.

1. What does the ColumbiaGrid footprint look like?
2. How many miles of high-voltage lines are in ColumbiaGrid's current footprint?
3. What is the difference between a participant and a member of ColumbiaGrid?
4. Who qualifies for membership in ColumbiaGrid?
5. Does ColumbiaGrid own or operate transmission lines?
6. What are ColumbiaGrid’s key responsibilities?
7. How will ColumbiaGrid assure that new transmission is built when needed?
8. What is the relationship between ColumbiaGrid and WECC in assuring reliability?
9. How will ColumbiaGrid plan efficiently for new transmission when not all Northwest transmission owners are members or participants?
10. What is ColumbiaGrid’s role in assuring compliance with FERC mandates, such as Order 890 and the Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT)?

Answers


1. What does the ColumbiaGrid footprint look like?

The ColumbiaGrid footprint is flexible and will change to reflect the transmission systems of new members and participants as they come on board. Our vision for the future includes entities that generate, transmit, and/or deliver power in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and northern California, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
View a current map of the ColumbiaGrid transmission network here...
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2. How many miles of high-voltage lines are in ColumbiaGrid's current footprint?

There are about 22,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the combined networks of the participants.
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3. What is the difference between a participant and a member of ColumbiaGrid?

A member plays a significant role in the corporate activities of ColumbiaGrid. The members elect the Board of Directors and have the authority to amend the bylaws and thereby alter ColumbiaGrid's direction. A participant has signed one or more Functional Agreements and actively participates in and benefits from programs operated by ColumbiaGrid.
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4. Who qualifies for membership in ColumbiaGrid?

All Northwest control area operators are invited to become members of ColumbiaGrid. In addition, any entity that operates electrical generation, transmission, or distribution is welcome to become a participant in programs operated by ColumbiaGrid.
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5. Does ColumbiaGrid own or operate transmission lines?

No. ColumbiaGrid is prohibited from owning transmission facilities. ColumbiaGrid provides planning and facilitation services to enable its members and participants to plan and operate their systems in a more coordinated, reliable, and efficient manner.
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6. What are ColumbiaGrid’s key responsibilities?

ColumbiaGrid currently has significant roles in regional transmission planning and developing operational reliability improvements. Portions of ColumbiaGrid's business plan are still under development by members and interested persons.
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7. How will ColumbiaGrid assure that new transmission is built when needed?

ColumbiaGrid's planning and expansion program is guided by a process designed to answer three key transmission questions: what needs to be built, who should build it, and who should pay for it. The answers to the last two questions will provide the bridge needed to advance transmission planning and development beyond regional efforts in the past .
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8. What is the relationship between ColumbiaGrid and WECC in assuring reliability?

As a regional electric reliability organization, WECC monitors and ensures compliance with established standards and provides a forum to discuss important issues. ColumbiaGrid belongs to WECC and participates in its activities. ColumbiaGrid's programs help our members and participants improve the reliable operation of their transmission networks and comply with WECC standards.
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9. How will ColumbiaGrid plan efficiently for new transmission when not all Northwest transmission owners are members or participants?

At every step, ColumbiaGrid encourages broad-scale participation in its activities. Through its planning and expansion process, ColumbiaGrid invites all neighboring utilities to become involved in reviewing and formulating transmission plans. In addition to providing a single-utility approach to planning on behalf of its members and participants, ColumbiaGrid works with other regional forums, such as WECC and the Northwest Power Pool, to gain the benefits of a broader perspective on transmission needs.
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10. What is ColumbiaGrid’s role in assuring compliance with FERC mandates, such as Order 890 and the Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT)?

ColumbiaGrid provides efficient subregional planning coordination among its members and participants, as well as the transparency and inclusiveness called for in Order 890. ColumbiaGrid also offers improvements on the OATT-required Open Access Same-time Information System (OASIS) by providing for a common portal and development of common queuing and available transfer capability (ATC) calculations.
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WHAT OUR MEMBERS SAY

Member: Seattle City Light      Project: ColumbiaGrid     
Seattle City Light

"ColumbiaGrid plays an important leadership role with the Northwest's public and private utilities and the Bonneville Power Administration. It allows for critical collaboration that benefits all our customers. As a member of Columbia Grid, Seattle receives a direct benefit from working together to address the issues that threaten the safe and reliable operation of our regional electric system in an environmentally sustainable manner."
~~ Jorge Carrasco, Superintendent, Seattle City Light