state commerce. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 expanded FERC’s mandate, giving it the authority to impose mandatory reliability standards on the bulk transmission system and to impose penalties on entities that manipulate electricity markets. As part of its new authority, FERC has in turn granted the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)—a private organization created by the utility industry in 1968 to advise on reliability—the authority to develop and enforce reliability standards. The National Institute of Standards and Technology also is involved in developing standards for the grid.
In some areas, independent system operators/regional transmission operators (ISO/RTOs) are responsible for operating the transmission system reliably, including constantly dispatching power to balance demand with supply and monitoring the power flows over transmission lines owned by other public or private entities. The ISO/RTOs, with oversight by FERC and NERC, monitor their systems’ capac-