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Electric Reliability Update - April 4, 2017

April 4, 2017


NERC Petitions FERC for Approval of Proposed Emergency Operations Reliability Standards - March 27 - NERC petitioned FERC for approval of four different Emergency Operations ("EOP") Reliability Standards: EOP-004-4 (Event Reporting), EOP-005-3 (System Restoration and Blackstart Resources), EOP-006-3 (System Restoration Coordination) and EOP-008-2 (Loss of Control Center Functionality). The proposed standards are designed to respectively provide accurate reporting of to NERC's Event Analysis group to analyze the impact of the Bulk Reliability System; delineate the role and responsibilities of entities that support System restoration from Blackstart Resources; clarify the procedures and requirements for Reliability Coordinator Personnel to execute System restoration processes; and refine the required elements of an Operating Plan used to continue reliable operations of the Bulk Electric System in the event that primary control functionality is lost. 

NAESB submits Status Report on the Reservation of WEQ-06 Manual Time Error Correction Business Practice Standards – March 27-  The North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) submitted a status report to FERC on NAESB standards development efforts corresponding to NERC efforts to retire Reliability Standard BAL-004-0 (Time Error Correction).  NAESB has reserved the complementary business practice standards WEQ-006 Manual Time Error Correction, which are scheduled for release later this year.

NERC Hosts Reliability Leadership Summit - March 21 - NERC hosted its fourth Reliability Leadership Summit bringing together industry executives, state and federal regulators, and other stakeholders to identify and discuss challenges to security of the bulk power system; resiliency and security; and emerging risks to reliability.

Cybersecurity and Grid Security

House Homeland Security Committee Holds Hearing on DHS Cyberdefense Role - March 22 - The House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing entitled "A Borderless Battle: Defending Against Cyber Threats" to discuss with cybersecurity experts the evolving cyber threat landscape and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) civilian cyber defense mission.    Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) discussed  his plan to make the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate a line agency within DHS rather than a subcomponent of DHS headquarters.

ESCC Leaders Meet with Trump Administration Officials - March 22 - Leaders of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) met with high-ranking members of the Trump Administration, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and acting FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur.  The meetings focused on managing the transition from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration, and addressed the need to continue cyberthreat intelligence sharing by the federal government with the electricity sector, the need for a quorum at FERC, and other issues.

ICS-CERT Releases Annual Report on Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity - March 22 – The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team(ICS-CERT), a branch of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, released its 2016 Year in Review highlighting increased cybersecurity assessments and informational products.  The ICS-CERT Incident Response team completed work on 290 incidents with the energy sector accounting for 59 of them. 

Regional Developments

Texas RE Releases 2016 Annual Report - March - Texas RE released its 2016 Annual Report, which provides a summary of yearly activities in each of its NERC Program Areas,   and information about its Protocol Compliance group and external outreach efforts.  The report highlights approval of changes to the Texas RE bylaws to increase efficiency, outreach on Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards, improvement of Enforcement processing, and increasing staff participation on ERO projects.

ReliabilityFirst Releases 2016 Annual Report - March - ReliabilityFirst released its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2016.  The report describes ReliabilityFirst's goals to ensure security and resiliency through its core functions of Risk Identification; Risk Mitigation; and Risk Communication.  The report notes that a key focus in 2016 was Risk Communication, with CIP Version 5 preparation and transition assistance being a focus.  The report also highlights numerous education and outreach activities and collaborative work with NERC to strengthen the Risk-Based Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program.


The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Malcolm McLellanSuzanne McBrideVan SmithGabe TabakDarsh SinghTyler Elliott, and Michael WeinerVan 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.  

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