Electric Reliability Update - January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018

NERC

NERC Comments in Support of FERC NOPR on Coordination and Personnel Training - January 29 - NERC filed comments supporting the FERC NOPR which proposes the approval of Reliability Standard PRC-027-1 (Coordination for Protection Systems for Performance During Faults), PER-006-1 (Specific Training for Personnel) and the retirement of PRC-001-1.1(ii). NERC asserted that the proposed standards would, improve upon the existing standard and “more effectively accomplish the reliability goals of ensuring that appropriate personnel are trained on Protection Systems and that Protection System settings are appropriately studied, coordinated, and monitored.”

NERC Board of Trustees to Consider Revisions to ROP - January 24 - Upon approval by the NERC Board of Trustees, NERC would amend the Section 400 and Appendices 2 and 4C of the NERC Rules of Procedure (ROP). The proposed revisions address FERC staff’s concerns regarding the Consolidated Hearing Process by increasing the number of members in the consolidated Hearing Body by one member. In addition, the revisions correct the inconsistent use of the terms “segment” and “sector.”  The comment period ended on January 14, 2018 and NERC posted an agenda item and accompanying materials on its website. These revisions will be considered by the Board of Trustees on February 8, 2018.

NERC Interim CEO Testifies Before Senate - January 23 - The interim President and CEO of NERC, Charles Berardesco, testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The panel included Kevin McIntyre (FERC Chairman), Andrew Ott (PJM CEO and President), Gordon van Welie (ISO-NE CEO and President), Bruce Walker (Assistant Secretary at DOE’s Office of Electric Delivery and Energy Reliability), and Allison Clements (Goodgrid President). The purpose of the hearing was to examine the performance of the electric power system in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic during recent winter weather events, including bomb cyclone. An archived video of the hearing can be found here and Berardesco’s testimony is available here.

NERC Petitions for Approval of Geomagnetic Disturbance Standard- January 22 - NERC submitted a petition to FERC requesting the approval of Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, the associated implementation plan, the Violations Risk Factors and Violation Severity Levels and the retirement of currently-effective Reliability Standard TPL-007-1. The proposed standard requires owner and operators of bulk power system to conduct initial and on-going vulnerability assessments of the potential impact of defined geomagnetic disturbance events on the bulk power system equipment and as a whole. NERC stated that the proposed standard, unlike the currently-effective standard, uses the latest developments in geomagnetic disturbance research to provide enhanced criteria and requirements to address reliability risks arising from geomagnetic disturbances.

Cybersecurity

DOE and Industry Partners Showcase Advanced Cybersecurity Technology - January 23 - DOE’s Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) program and its industry partners showcased cutting-edge technologies focused on preventing, detecting, and mitigating cyber attacks at this year’s DistribuTECH 2018 Conference.  The conference brings together industry and public sector leaders to share knowledge and problem solve with utilities and service provides concerned with grid security.  CEDS partners that displayed new technologies at the conference include, ABB, Inc., FoxGuard Solutions, General Electric Global Research, Intel, Iowa State University, Qubitekk, Inc., Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc., Texas A&M University, and United Technologies Research Center.  More information about these research projects can be found here.

Van Ness Feldman Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Report - January 24 - In response to the growing threat of cyber-attacks on various assets and critical infrastructure, Van Ness Feldman’s cybersecurity team is pleased to provide the Critical Infrastructure:  2017 Cybersecurity Review and What to Expect in 2018 report providing a summary of major federal initiatives throughout 2017 and identifying common developments and themes that will be helpful in navigating the constantly evolving area of  cybersecurity law and policy.

Other Developments

DOE Issues Final Rule on Grid Security Emergency Orders - January 10 - The U.S. Department of Energy issued a final rule establishing procedural regulations concerning the Secretary of Energy’s actions when issuing emergency orders in the event of a grid emergency.  The final rule authorizes the Secretary of Energy to order emergency measures to protect or restore the reliability of critical electric infrastructure following a Presidential declaration of a grid security emergency, which could result from physical attacks, cyber-attacks, an electromagnetic pulse, or a geomagnetic storm event.  The final rule also outlines procedures for outreach, consultation, temporary access to classified information, and compliance in the event of an emergency order. This rule has a January 10, 2018 effective date.

###

The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Malcolm McLellan, Suzanne P. Keppeler,  Van Smith, Gabe Tabak, Darsh Singh, Tyler Elliott, and Michael Weiner.  Van Ness Feldman counsels, advises and trains a wide range of clients on reliability matters.  Please email us or call us at 206.829.1814 or 202.298.1800 for additional information. Click here to sign up for the Reliability Update.  

Follow us on Twitter @VANNESSFELDMAN