On February 21, 2017, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) submitted its annual risk-based Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (“CMEP”) report to FERC. In the report, NERC reviewed the CMEP’s progress for 2016 and proposed two enhancements to improve the program’s efficiencies and effectiveness. Specifically, NERC proposed (1) discontinuing the requirement that registered entities publicly-post their noncompliance logs and (2) expanding the use of Compliance Exceptions (“CEs”) to include certain moderate-risk noncompliance issues. NERC asserted that the proposed enhancements would allow the CMEP to better target higher-risk issues that can impact the reliability of the bulk power system. Continue Reading NERC Submits Annual Monitoring and Enforcement Report; Proposes Enhancements to Self-Logging and CE Programs

On February 10, 2017, FERC issued a notice announcing a day-long technical conference to be held on Thursday, June 22, 2017. As stated in the notice, the purpose of the conference will be to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System. The Commission has held similar technical conferences on policy issues related to reliability on an annual basis for the last few years (see February 8, 2016 edition of the WER).

An agenda has yet to be released. The conference is free and open to the public, but prospective attendees are encouraged to register online. March 3, 2017 is the deadline for prospective panel participants to submit their nominations through FERC’s online speaker registration form.

The notice announcing the technical conference can be found here.

 

On January 19, 2017, FERC approved Reliability Standard BAL-002-2, Disturbance Control Standard—Contingency Reserve for Recovery from a Balancing Contingency Event, which is designed to “ensure that balancing authorities and reserve sharing groups balance resources and demand and return their Area Control Error to defined values following a Reportable Balancing Contingency Event.” In doing so, FERC also directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to: (1) collect and report on data regarding additional energy losses following Reportable Balancing Contingency Events during the Contingency Reserve Restoration Period; and (2) study and report on reliability risks associated with energy losses above the most severe single contingency that do not cause energy emergencies. Continue Reading FERC Approves Disturbance Control Standard for Balancing Authorities and Reserve Sharing Groups

In December, 2016, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) released its 2016 Long-Term Reliability Assessment (“LTRA”). Among its key findings, NERC projected that the capacity reserve margin—the primary metric used to measure resource adequacy—would fall below its target level in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) region, and could also fall below its target level in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) region, depending on the outcome of certain pending regulatory proceedings. NERC also made a number of recommendations designed to address identified reliability issues. Continue Reading NERC Publishes 2016 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, Warns of Shortages in MISO and ERCOT

On October 3, 2016, FERC denied La Paloma Generating Company, LLC’s (“La Paloma”) complaint (“Complaint”) requesting that FERC order the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) to designate the portion of La Paloma’s generating capacity that is not currently designated as resource adequacy capacity as reliability must-run (“RMR”) units.

Continue Reading FERC Denies La Paloma Complaint Requesting Reliability Must-Run Designation

On September 22, 2016, the Commission approved Reliability Standard TPL-007-1 (Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events), which establishes for the first time mandatory requirements for Transmission Owners and other entities to assess the vulnerability of transmission systems to geomagnetic disturbance events (“GMDs”), which occur when the sun ejects charged particles that cause changes in the earth’s magnetic fields. The Standard requires that entities who do not meet certain performance requirements, based on the results of their vulnerability assessments, develop a plan to achieve those performance requirements. The Commission also affirmed that recovery for prudent costs to comply with TPL-007-1, including for the purchase and installation of monitoring devices, will be available to registered entities. Continue Reading FERC Approves Transmission GMD Reliability Standard

On July 21, 2016, in Order No. 829, FERC directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop a new or modified Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standard that addresses supply chain risk management for industrial control system hardware, software, and computing and networking services associated with Bulk Electric System operations. FERC directed NERC to submit the new or modified Reliability Standard within one year of the effective date of the order, which is 60 days after the order’s publication in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Directs NERC to Develop Reliability Standard for Supply Chain Cyber Controls

On May 19, 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it proposed to approve Reliability Standard BAL-002-2, Disturbance Control Standard—Contingency Reserve for Recovery from a Balancing Contingency Event (“May 19 NOPR”). In the May 19 NOPR, FERC described BAL-002-2 as designed to ensure that Registered Entities “are able to recover from system contingencies by deploying adequate reserves to return their Area Control Error to defined values and by replacing the capacity and energy lost due to generation or transmission equipment outages.” FERC also proposed in the May 19 NOPR to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to: (i) modify BAL-002-2 to address concerns related to the possible extension or delay of the periods for Area Control Error recovery and contingency reserve restoration; and (ii) address a reliability “gap” associated with NERC’s proposed definition of “Reportable Balancing Contingency Event.” Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR on Disturbance Control Reliability Standard

On March 17, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) issued an order approving Reliability Standard PRC-026-1 (Relay Performance During Stable Power Swings). According to the Commission, PRC-026-1 is “designed to ensure that applicable entities use protective relay systems that can differentiate between faults and stable power swings.” The Commission also approved the proposed violation risk factors, violation severity levels, and implementation plan for PRC-026-1. Under the approved implementation plan, Requirement R1 of PRC-026-1 will become effective 12 months after Commission approval, and Requirements R2, R3, and R4 will become effective 36 months after Commission approval. Continue Reading FERC Approves Reliability Standard Aimed at Relay Performance