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The North American Electric Reliability Council's (NERC) new reliability standards are an important milestone for the council and the electric power industry. They clarify existing NERC reliability standards, and they create the foundation for adopting enforceable standards. The grid ensure that the nation's retail electricity customers enjoy reliable and affordable electricity service, and it enables the country's evolving wholesale electricity markets. To support both functions in the future, the grid will require more investment. The nation's shareholder-owned electric utilities recognize this need and are building transmission facilities. Even with this new spending, the continually growing demand for electricity, coupled with the expanding number of wholesale market transactions, means that more investment will be necessary. To encourage it, a number of regulatory and legislative policies should be adopted at both the federal and the state level to improve investor certainty and cost recovery.
Date of Publication: Sept.-Oct. 2005