The California Independent System Operator concluded the second market simulation in its Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade this week with mixed results and half the number of market participants it anticipated. CAISO grid operators are working a grueling schedule, including 24-hour weekend shifts to iron out the glitches so the upgraded system will be up and running by the February 1 target date, Deborah Le Vine, director of market services told the CAISO governing board July 18. The grid operator is still using some of its original computer systems and software, which will be replaced to improve grid operations and facilitate transactions with load serving entities, CAISO spokesman Gregg Fishman explained. \u201cNeither the CAISO or market participants consider Release 2 completed or successful,\u201d Le Vine said in a briefing on the MRTU and readiness update to the CAISO board. \u201cIt\u2019s definitely not successful but not a failure either. There\u2019s an opportunity for both the CAISO and participants to exercise daily market bids and pull down settlement statements.\u201d The CAISO began Release 2 of its Integrated Market Simulation on May 29 with 31 percent of load serving entities participating in the simulated day-ahead market compared to the 60 percent it had anticipated, said Le Vine. She attributed the low participation to technical \u201chiccups\u201d and day-to-day challenges, which have prevented market participants from seeing the results of their bids on both their CAISO interface and settlement statements. CAISO has been unable to calculate day ahead charges and settlement statements for daily bids because upstream data was inadvertently diverted and did not end up in the right payloads. Some market participants have been frustrated because the CAISO glitches prevented them from completely checking out their systems as they had anticipated, she said. Participants have urged the CAISO to include the market business process market validation in advance instead of simultaneously to ensure that when it is opened to market participants they will be able to fully exercise their systems. Because of these and other concerns the CAISO has moved back the start up date for its Release 3 and 4 market simulation from the scheduled July 23 launch. \u201cWe\u2019ve stepped back and are reassessing what to do,\u201d Le Vine said. The \u201cgood news\u201d is that the CAISO\u2019s real time market simulation is running and accessible for grid operators to view on the grid board at CAISO headquarters in Folsom. Grid operators are running the CAISO\u2019s integrated test environment on a five-minute basis and can see how off peak operations are running, Le Vine said. CAISO is broadcasting and receiving payloads, and working on integrating downstream and upstream applications. \u201cMarket participants want to see a set structure testing when we come back up so they know what the results will be when they put in bids,\u201d Le Vine said. The next market simulation will include semi-structured testing where the CAISO will start with firm bids and vary them to procure additional power. It also will include sufficient time for unstructured testing requested by market participants so they can place whatever bids they want based on the load forecast hour and various system parameters. The CAISO\u2019s core grid operations, IT, and external affairs are all on track for the February MRTU launch while its non-core business units are being caught up to speed, Le Vine said. With respect to external readiness, market participants are undergoing their second review which will be completed in August. \u201cWe\u2019re working with market participants to see how they\u2019re doing with finalizing their processes and procedures,\u201d Le Vine said. The CAISO\u2019s intensive MRTU training sessions this year have been well attended, with 457 individuals representing 86 markets participants at the first and 353 individuals representing 62 market participants at the second. The grid operator met the first milestone for certification of its MRTU by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and is on target to file with FERC 60 days before certification as required, Le Vine said. The CAISO\u2019s next milestone will be on October 26. Meanwhile the CAISO and market participants are busy addressing FERC\u2019s July 7 order requiring new data from load serving entities for the auction and allocation of congestion revenue rights. FERC\u2019s order will delay the CRR allocation by two weeks, closing the market on August 15 instead of August 1 as initially scheduled, she said. The order gives LSE\u2019s outside of the CAISO\u2019s control area an opportunity to revise their data to use trading hubs. It also directs the CAISO to calculate procurement payments for CRRs on a monthly basis instead of annually. FERC issued four orders this year requiring a dozen changes in the MRTU. Le Vine expects federal regulators to issue four or five more orders before the start up of the MRTU in February.