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Electric Reliability Update - March 25, 2016

March 25, 2016


FERC Approves Relay Performance Reliability Standard - March 17 - In a Final Rule, FERC approved Reliability Standard PRC-026-1 (Relay Performance During Stable Power Swings).  According to NERC, the Reliability Standard will prevent the unnecessary tripping of bulk electric system elements in response to stable power swings. FERC determined that the Reliability Standard satisfied the directive in its Order No. 733 concerning undesirable relay operation due to power swings.  The Final Rule becomes effective on May 23, 2016. 

FERC NOPR for Frequency and Voltage Ride Through Capability of Small Generating Facilities - March 17 - FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to revise the pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Agreement, which establishes the conditions of service that utilities must provide to small generating facilities no larger than 20 megawatts.  The revised NOPR proposes that newly interconnecting small generating facilities would be expected to ride through abnormal frequency and voltage events without disconnection, making the requirements comparable to large generating facilities.


NERC Submits Response on Risk-Based Registration Initiative - March 21 - NERC submitted to FERC an informational filing in response to the March 19, 2015 order in which FERC approved revisions to NERC’s Rules of Procedure to implement the Risk-Based Registration (RBR) initiative.  The RBR initiative ensures entities are subjected to Reliability Standards based on the risk they pose to the Bulk Electric System.  In the filing, NERC addressed the status of deactivation for purchasing-selling entities, interchange authorities, and distribution providers; the formation of the NERC-led Review Panel; and the measured benefits and costs of RBR to date.

NERC Petitions for Approval of Transmission Vegetation Management Reliability Standard - March 14 - NERC submitted a petition for approval of Reliability FAC-003-4 (Transmission Vegetation Management).  The proposed Reliability Standard would require entities to manage vegetation located on transmission rights of way and minimize encroachments in order to reduce the risk of vegetation-related outages. In addition, NERC requested the retirement of the previous Reliability Standard, FAC-003-3.

Cybersecurity and Grid Security

Cyber Attack on the Ukrainian Power Grid - March 18  - The Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) provided an analysis of the cyber attack on the Ukrainian power grid that occurred December 23, 2015. The document summarizes important learning points and presents several mitigation strategies based on publicly available information on incident command system incidents in Ukraine.  

Regional Developments

Texas RE Releases first Annual Report - March 10 - Texas Reliability Entity, INC. (Texas RE) released its first annual report highlighting key accomplishments in 2015 and providing data from each of the NERC Programs Areas.

Other Developments

DOE Announces Progress and Next Steps on Synchrophasor Technology Advancement - March 22 - At the first-ever International Synchrophasor Symposium in Atlanta, GA, DOE released a report titled "Advancement of Synchrophasor Technology in Projects Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" and announced two Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs).  The report noted that 1,380 additional networked phasor measurement units and 226 phasor data concentrators have been installed since 2009.  The data provided by these systems lead to a more reliable and resilient grid. 


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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