Balancing authority

A balancing authority is the entity responsible for maintaining system frequency for an area comprising a collection of generation, transmission, and loads within metered boundaries (defined as a “balancing authority area”). Responsibilities of a balancing authority include scheduling supply resources, transmission, and loads in the day-ahead, maintaining the area's load-resource balance in real time, and supporting the area's interconnection frequency in real time. 

These entities are often called control area operators, although this term has been replaced by “balancing authority” in North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) terminology. As of 2020, there are 64 balancing authorities in the U.S., eight in Canada, and one in Mexico.