Balancing Authorities

A short description of BANC, the Balancing Authority of Northern California, the third largest balancing authority in California, provides a snapshot of the complexity of electrical load management.


Balancing authorities can get complicated. Take the Balancing Authority of Northern California (BANC), the third largest balancing authority in California, as an example. Its charter calls it a joint powers authority (JPA).

BANC assumed control of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in 2011. It now embraces SMUD, the Modesto Irrigation District (MID), Roseville Electric, and Redding Electric. It makes decisions concerning the use of about 40% of the Central Valley Project (CVP) hydro facilities, which are owned by the California Bureau of Reclamation. 

In addition to generating capacity, BANC contracts for transmission facilities owned by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and the high-voltage (500 kV) California-Oregon Transmission Project (COTP), which is jointly owned by several more parties including WAPA and some BANC members via the Transmission Agency of Northern California.

BANC cooperates with other balancing authorities, including the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). Standards developed and enforced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) govern these relationships.

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