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Eight power companies in the U.S. South join MISO electric grid

June 3 (Reuters) - Eight power companies in the U.S. South on Friday joined the reliability region of Midwest electric grid, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) said in a release Monday.

The eight utilities include Cleco Corp of Louisiana, South Mississippi Electric Power Association, Louisiana Energy and Power Authority, Louisiana Generating LLC and four municipal utilities.

The additions followed the integration of Arkansas Electric Cooperative and Entergy Corp’s utilities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas into the MISO’s reliability region in December.

MISO said the Entergy utilities, Cleco and South Mississippi Electric are working toward full integration into MISO’s market operations by December 2013.

MISO oversees two regions - a reliability region and a market region.

The reliability region has more than 205,000 MW of generating capacity covering parts of 15 states from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border and the Canadian province of Manitoba.

The market region has more than 131,500 MW of capacity serving 42 million people in parts of 11 U.S. Midwest states from Montana to Michigan.