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Electric Reliability Update - June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016


FERC Approves NERC Revised Definition - June 23 - FERC approved NERC’s uncontested filing to revise the definition of “Special Protection Systems” in the Glossary of Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards.  The revision was proposed to match the revised definition of “Remedial Action Scheme” (RAS), which will ensure that references to either term refers to the revised definition of RAS approved by the Commission.

Letter Order Approving Six Glossary Definitions - June 23 – FERC issued a letter order approving six terms in the Glossary of Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards, and NERC’s request for a shortened response period and expedited action.  NERC states that the proposed revised definitions reduce potential confusion associated with definitions embedded within a term.

FERC Approves Amendment to Peak Reliability Stipulation and Consent Agreement - June 21 - FERC issued an order approving an amendment to the Stipulation and Consent Agreement between WECC, Peak Reliability, the Office of Enforcement, and NERC.  Under the revised agreement, Peak will finalize any changes to its system operating limits methodology related to the 1000 MW threshold consistent with the effective date of NERC Project 2015-09 Reliability Standards.  Peak will also be required to report semi-annually to NERC and the Office of Enforcement on the progress of its compliance.

FERC Order to Terminate Sub-Delegation Agreement - June 21 – FERC issued an order granting the joint motion between the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) and Peak Reliability (Peak) to terminate their Reliability Coordinator and Interchange Authority Agreement.  WECC and Peak state that the sub-delegation of reliability coordinator functions has become unnecessary with the implementation of the Reliability Coordinator Funding Agreement.  Additionally, FERC granted Edison Electric Institute’s motion to vacate certain FERC orders related to Peak’s funding.

FERC Requires NERC to Provide Access to Databases - June 16 - The Commission amended its regulations to require NERC to provide FERC and FERC staff with access to the Transmission Availability Data System, the Generating Availability Data System, and the protection system misoperations database.  Access to these databases will be limited to data regarding U.S. facilities.  This rule will become effective upon issuance of the final rule in Docket No. RM16-15-000.

FERC Issues NOPR on Regulations Implementing FAST Act Section - 61003 - Critical Electric Infrastructure Security and Amending Critical Energy Infrastructure Information - June 16 – In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FERC proposed revisions to its regulations that will allow the Commission to comply with the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and improve the overall efficiency of the Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information (CEII) process for information that is submitted to or generated by the Commission. Specifically, the Commission proposes to revise 18 CFR sections 375.313, 388.112, and 388.113 of the Commission’s regulations to implement the requirements identified in section 215A(d)(2) of the FPA, to clearly convey that FERC’s CEII procedures cover more than just electric infrastructure.  Comments are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

FERC Issues Order No. 827 Approving Reactive Power Requirements for Non-Synchronous Generation - June 16 -  FERC issued Order No. 827, which requires all newly interconnecting non-synchronous generators to provide reactive power at the high-side of the generator substation as a condition of interconnection as set forth in their Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (LGIA) or Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (SGIA). The Order eliminates the pro forma LGIA exemptions for wind generators from the requirement to provide reactive power.  FERC requires all public utilities to adopt the requirements before September 21, 2016. 

FERC and NERC Conduct Annual FFT Review - June 15 - FERC and NERC staff conducted the annual review of the Find, Fix, Track and Report (FFT) program and the Compliance Exception (CE) program.  FERC staff reviewed 32 FFT possible violations and 100 CE instances of noncompliance.  FERC believes that the two programs are meeting expectations with limited exceptions, although some entities’ reports lacked non-material information that NERC had requested.


NERC to Host Distributed Energy Resources Workshop - June 17 - On August 2, 2016, NERC will host a Distributed Energy Resources Workshop entitled Maintaining Reliability of the Bulk Power System with Integration of Large Amounts of Distributed Energy Resources.  The workshop will focus on Bulk Power System planning and operations associated with larger-scale integration of distributed generation.

NERC Submits Revised Report of Budgeted to Actual Costs for 2015 - June 15 - NERC submitted to FERC a revised report comparing actual costs to budgeted costs for the year 2015.  NERC found that the budget it submitted used incorrect 2015 full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing numbers for several programs and departments.  The overall budgeted 2015 FTE number and the overall NERC Statement of Activities and Fixed Assets Budget for 2015 were not affected by the incorrect data.

NERC 2016 Summer Reliability Assessment - June 15 - In NERC’s 2016 Summer Reliability Assessment, anticipated reserve margins for the summer in North America exceed the reference margins in all regions.  The Reliability Assessment is designed to format key data for stakeholders to analyze potential reliability risks to the bulk power system.

NERC Submits Supplemental Information for Proposed Reliability Standards - June 14 - NERC submitted to FERC supplemental information for the approval of proposed Reliability Standards BAL-005-1 (Balancing Authority Control) and FAC-001-3 (Facility Interconnection Requirements).  The supplement provides information supporting the proposed retirement of Requirement R15 of Reliability Standard BAL-005-0.2b, ensuring continued operations of Automatic Generation Control during the loss of normal power supply, since Reliability Standard BAL-005-1 addresses this issue.

NERC and NPCC Submit Petition for Retirement of Reliability Standard - June 9 - NERC and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council, Inc. (NPCC) submitted to FERC a request for approval of the retirement of NPCC Regional Reliability Standard PRC-002-NPCC-01 (Disturbance Monitoring and two related NPCC regional definitions, Current Zero Time and Generating Plant).  The recently approved Reliability Standard PRC-002-2 (Disturbance Monitoring and Reporting Requirements) addresses the issues in the NPCC Reliability Standard, making it redundant and unnecessary for reliability. 

NERC Submits Petition for Approval of Six Glossary Definitions - June 2 - NERC submitted to FERC a request for approval of the following terms in the NERC Glossary of Terms Used in Reliability Standards: Reporting ACE; Actual Frequency; Actual Net Interchange; Scheduled Net Interchange (NIS); Interchange Meter Error (IME); and Automatic Time Error Correction (ATEC).  

Cybersecurity and Grid Security

NIST to Refine Cybersecurity Framework - June 9 - The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is clarifying small portions of its cybersecurity framework based on user feedback from industry, government, and academia.  NIST plans to use the framework to develop a tool to help organizations assess their cybersecurity risk management process.

MRO to Host 2016 Security Conference - June 9 - The Midwest Reliability Organization is hosting its third annual security conference on September 22, 2016.  The conference is designed to expand cyber and physical security awareness through shared information in the security industry


Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency Act Introduced- June 7 - Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) introduced to the House of Representatives H.R.5390, a bill to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to authorize the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Agency (Agency).  The Agency would lead efforts to protect and enhance the security of U.S. cyber and critical infrastructure. 

Securing Energy Infrastructure Act Introduced - June 6 - Senator Angus King (I-ME) introduced S.3018, Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, which would establish a pilot program to identify security vulnerabilities in the energy sector.  The bill calls for a 2-year control system to study vulnerabilities of entities participating in the program, and for implementing technology to defend against exploits to analog and nondigital control systems, purpose-built control systems, and physical controls. 

Regional Developments

New Elections at Peak Reliability Annual Meeting - June 9 - At its Annual Members Meeting, Peak Reliability elected three new board members, five new Member Advisory Committee Class representatives, and approved revised Bylaw amendments.

Other Developments

Monkey Causes Nationwide Power Outage in Kenya - June 9 - In the latest case of simian sabotage, a monkey interfered with a transformer at a Kenyan hydroelectric facility, causing a blackout that left the country of 44 million without power for over three hours. The monkey survived.  


The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Malcolm McLellanIlan GutherzVan SmithGabe TabakDarsh SinghTyler 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. 

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Dates & Events

June  2018
13 NERC Inverter-Based Webinar Series: Recommended Performance
20-21 NERC Power System Modeling Conference New Albany, OH