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Electric Reliability Update - February 12, 2016

February 12, 2016


NERC, Trade Associations Exchange Comments on CIP v5 Implementation – On February 4, 2016, a group of trade associations filed a motion seeking an extension of time for Critical Infrastructure Version 5 (CIP v5) reliability standards, requesting that FERC shift the implementation date from April 1, 2016 to July 1, 2016.  The motion contends that implementing multiple versions of standards in a short period would impose burdens and reduce certainty.  The filing parties were the Edison Electric Institute, the American Public Power Association, the Electricity Consumers Resource Council, the Electric Power Supply Association, the Large Public Power Council, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the Transmission Access Policy Study Group.  On February 8, NERC filed reply comments requesting that the April 1 date remain unchanged, and clarifying which standards will be in effect as of that date to avoid duplicative efforts.  See below for the specific CIP standards that become effective on April 1, unless FERC directs otherwise.

FERC to Hold Reliability Technical Conference - February 3 - FERC announced that it will hold a Technical Conference on Wednesday, June 1 at its offices in Washington, D.C. to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System.  The event will be open to the public and available via webcast.

Report Identifies Beneficial Practices for Grid Restoration and Recovery - January 29 - FERC and NERC conducted a joint review of system restoration and recovery plans from a sample of regional bulk power system owners and operators.  The report, led by FERC and NERC staff along with representatives from the Regional Entities, found that utilities have extensive incident response and recovery plans, and that broadly adopting these practices will enhance preparation for recovery from physical or cyber attacks.

CIP Technical Conference Presentations Now Available – January 28 - Presentations from the January 28th FERC Technical Conference on Critical Infrastructure Protection Supply Chain Risk Management are now available. 


NERC Seeks Approval of Disturbance Control Performance Reliability Standard - January 29 - NERC filed a petition for approval of Proposed Reliability Standard BAL-002-2 (Disturbance Control Performance - Contingency Reserve for Recovery from a Balancing Contingency Event), which would identify entities capable of ensuring reliability of the Bulk-Power System by "preparing responsible entities to balance resources and demand and return the relevant Area Control Error ('ACE') to defined values."  The proposed Reliability Standard would also clarify NERC Glossary definitions. 

Standards that Become Effective on April 1, 2016  - On April 1, the following new standards will become effective:

  • CIP-002-5.1 (BES Cyber System Categorization)
  • CIP-003-5 (Security Management Controls)
  • CIP-004-5.1 (Personnel and Training)
  • CIP-005-5 (Electronic Security Perimeters)
  • CIP-006-5 (Physical Security of BES Cyber Systems)
  • CIP-007-5 (Systems Security Management)
  • CIP-008-5 (Incident Reporting and Response Planning)
  • CIP-009-5 (Recovery Plans for BES Cyber Systems)
  • CIP-010-1 (Configuration Change Management and Vulnerability Assessments)
  • CIP-011-1 (Information Protection)
  • IRO-006-EAST-2 (Transmission Loading Relief Procedure for the Eastern Interconnection)

Cybersecurity and Grid Security

DHS Announces Plan to Share Cybersecurity Information - February 3 - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to begin automatically sharing cybersecurity threat information with private industry.  The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act provides companies with liability protection and allows them to exclude employee information when sharing cybersecurity threats with the government.  In preparation, DHS has created the Trusted Automated eXchange of Indicator Information (TAXII), and the Structured Threat Information eXpression (STIX), to help improve the sharing model.


Energy Policy Modernization Act Faces Uncertain Future - February 4 - A clash over how to best address the water crisis facing Flint, MI has threatened the fate of the Energy Policy Modernization Act, the comprehensive energy legislation reported out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in May 2015 and taken up by the full Senate on January 27.  The legislation (S.2012) contains provisions that would grant the Secretary of Energy emergency authority to undertake immediate actions to protect the bulk-power system from cybersecurity threats and directs the Secretary to develop cybsersecurity applications and technologies for the energy sector, establish cyberresilience and emergency response programs, and assess energy infrastructure risk from cyberattack.  Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) attempted to invoke cloture to end debate on the bill, but his motion failed as Democrats seek to include an amendment granting substantial federal aid to Flint.  The Senate is expected to resume consideration of S.2012 on February 8, 2016. 


The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Malcolm McLellan, Ilan Gutherz, Van Smith, Gabe Tabak, Darsh Singh, Tyler 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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