The high-voltage power system that forms the backbone of New England’s fully integrated electric system in 2015 traces its roots to the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965, which left 30 million customers in eight states without power. The New England Power Pool was created in 1971 to centralize the dispatch of generation, schedule outages of generation and transmission equipment, and coordinate planning to improve reliability and economics. In 1997, following actions by Congress and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Independent System Operator for New England (ISO New England) was established to operate the regional power system and implement wholesale power markets.
ISO New England constantly
balances electric supply and demand in the region, and it monitors, dispatches,
and directs the flow of electricity every minute of every day. The master control center in Holyoke, MA issues
instructions to generators and transmission owners, dispatches power plants in
order of the lowest supply offers, schedules delivery of the electricity
through the high-voltage transmission lines, and continuously makes minor
corrections to the system to maintain voltage and frequency within acceptable
"New England’s electric power grid has been planned
and operated as a unified system of its participating transmission owners and
market participants. The New England
system integrates resources with the transmission system to serve all regional
load regardless of state boundaries. Most
of the transmission lines are relatively short and networked as a grid. Therefore, the electrical performance in one
part of the system affects all areas of the system.” -- 2014
ISO New England Regional System Plan
The New England regional electric grid consists of 8,500 miles of high-voltage
transmission lines that transport electricity from power generation plants to
areas throughout the region that need electricity. Below you’ll find an example
of how electricity flows from a hydropower plant to your home.
1. Hydropower generates electricity.