…“Incumbents might complain about added bureaucracy or find ways around it,” former FERC Commissioner [John] Norris responded. But objective, data-based ITM reports, like those from IMMs, could give state regulators leverage against incumbent utilities’ influence, he added.

PJM IMM Monitoring Analytics’ President Joseph Bowring and Beth Garza, former director of the Texas IMM and now energy and environmental policy senior fellow for consultant R Street, agreed.

Independently funded ITMs could “be the eyes and ears of regulators,” Garza said. But only “if they have the authority” to obtain and present to regulators complete data and information on “incumbent utilities’ regulated returns and on where transmission planning is or is not conforming with FERC rules,” she stipulated.

…However, the “patchwork fixes” system operators “have been making for the last 20 years to meet the power system’s changing generation and load” need reform, [Steven] Herling acknowledged. And “those changes must be comprehensive and coordinated to avoid unintended consequences,” he said.

Former Texas IMM head Garza agreed hard decisions are ahead. “The FERC proceeding is an attempt to move the imperfect world closer to the most efficient approach,” she said. “In many respects, the value is in the process.”