"Urgency" is the word of the day as the California Independent System Operator rushes to put in place a series of market rules and procedural changes before the searing heat of another California summer drives up power demand.

CAISO is reshuffling some of its other near-term stakeholder initiatives in order to get a series of changes in place before summer as a bulwark against blackouts like those that occurred in August 2020. The purpose of the summer 2021 readiness initiative is to secure adequate energy supplies to keep the lights on.

"We are going to have a very expedited process and we need stakeholders to be as engaged as possible if we're going to make some valuable changes for the summer," CAISO Market Design Policy Specialist James Friedrich said during a Jan. 6 webinar on the initiative.

CAISO wants to get the changes in place by June 1, which requires filing tariff amendments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in April, and approval in March by the CAISO Board of Governors and the Western Energy Imbalance Market Governing Body.

"We really only have a few weeks to get as much done as possible," Friedrich said.

CAISO is coordinating with the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission on the various actions that were identified in a preliminary root-cause analysis issued after the blackouts.

Broadly, the initiative includes new market incentives and changes to procedures, business practices and systems to make supply available. Most of the changes will be triggered by a pre-defined tight supply condition and would not apply to all market intervals. One task will be defining an appropriate trigger, Friedrich said, such as generation unit infeasibility, an operator alert or warning, or a price trigger. Some of the rule changes might not have the same triggers as others, he said.

The initiative is wide-ranging and includes export and load priorities, which involve clarifying or modifying scheduling priorities of internal load, and exports that are both supported by contracts and not supported by contracts. CAISO will seek scheduling priorities comparable to those in the rest of the West.

Another aspect of the initiative is reviewing how reliability demand response is dispatched through the real-time market once enabled by the ISO and developing enhancements to ensure dispatch of reliability DR creates appropriate price signals. Other efforts include short-term scarcity pricing enhancements, coordination with the EIM and the resource sufficiency test, and other items identified by stakeholders that can be vetted and implemented by June 1.