On August 20, 2014, PJM Interconnection (PJM) proposed changes to their capacity market to address reliability concerns highlighted by generator performance during the 2013-2014 winter season, during which up to 22% of PJM capacity was unavailable due to cold-weather issues. The purpose of this proposal is to provide details regarding PJM’s proposed initial solution to issues identified in PJM’s August 1, 2014 whitepaper entitled “Problem Statement on PJM Capacity Performance Definition.” PJM expects the solutions detailed in this proposal will be adapted through discussions with stakeholders.
Continue Reading PJM Interconnection Proposes New Capacity Performance Rules to Provide Stronger Performance Incentives and Operational Availability During Peak Conditions

On March 7, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order directing the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop reliability standards requiring owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System to address risks due to physical security threats and vulnerabilities within 90 days of the date of the order (June 5, 2014). FERC expects the proposed Reliability Standards to “require owners or operators of the Bulk-Power System to take at least three steps to address the risks that physical security attacks pose to the reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System,” the results of which should be updated periodically and verified independently by NERC, the Regional Entities, reliability coordinators or some other third parties. Order at P 6.
Continue Reading FERC directs NERC to Develop Physical Security Reliability Standards

At the penultimate Open Meeting of the year (and the last open meeting of Chairman Wellinghoff), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took a number of significant actions related to electric reliability.  Commissioner LaFleur issued a statement regarding the actions and FERC Staff provided a presentation regarding each item.  In her remarks, Commissioner LaFleur noted that the three orders described below “have broader implications for NERC’s efforts to reform its standards development process and enforcement processes.”  She explained that she “strongly support[s] NERC’s efforts in both the standards and enforcement areas, but emphasize that for them to be successful the standards themselves must be clear, enforceable, and technically justified.”
Continue Reading Electric Reliability Actions at November 21, 2013 FERC Open Meeting

On October 23, 2013, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) issued for public comment its Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework.  As we have reported in blog posts in the past [White House and DHS Float Incentives for Adopting Cybersecurity Framework , The Cybersecurity Executive Order’s Effect on the Electric Industry, President Obama Issues Executive Order — Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity], this framework document was issued pursuant to President Obama’s Executive Order 13636, which required the federal agencies to develop a voluntary program for protecting the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical assets.  The Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework was the product of several months of workshops and other outreach activity by NIST, and it was due to be posted on October 10, 2013, but was delayed due to the federal government shutdown.  NIST has asked interested parties to submit their comments on the Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework by December 13, 2013.
Continue Reading NIST Issues Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework

On August 6, 2013, an article titled “Incentives to Support Adoption of Cybersecurity Framework” was posted on both the White House blog and on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Web page. In this article, the Administration appears to be suggesting ways federal agencies and Congress may create incentives for the adoption of a voluntary Cybersecurity Framework that is currently under development by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).
Continue Reading White House and DHS Float Incentives for Adopting Cybersecurity Framework

In addition to the reliability-related decisions and Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) July 18, 2013 Open Meeting, there are two reliability-related dockets that are worthy of mention and provide an opportunity for interested parties to submit comments.
Continue Reading Follow-Up on Reliability-Related NOPRs

On July 18, 2013, FERC issued a report on its audit of Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP). This audit commenced on November 15, 2011, and it reviewed SRP’s compliance with the NERC reliability standards for the entire period from June 18, 2007 (when the reliability standards became mandatory and enforceable) until March 14, 2013. According to the audit report, the focus of the audit was on the last two years.
Continue Reading FERC issues Report on Reliability Standards Audit of Salt River Project

During its July 18 Open Meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission made several reliability-related issuances: three Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NOPR), one final rule approving a reliability standard, and a decision regarding South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association’s (SLECA) North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) registry appeal.
Continue Reading FERC Makes Several Reliability-Related Issuances at Its July Open Meeting

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will hold a Commissioner-lead technical conference on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System. According to the agenda released on June 19, the conference will be comprised of four panels:

  1. State of Reliability and Emerging Issues;
  2. Continuing Evolution of NERC Enforcement and Compliance Activities;
  3. NERC Standards Development Process and Priorities; and
  4. Other Issues.

On April 24, 2013, FERC’s Director of Enforcement issued a letter order accepting a FERC Staff audit of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to evaluate its compliance with NERC’s Reliability Standards. This is one of a handful of instances in which FERC staff has undertaken to assess Reliability Standards compliance without the direct involvement of NERC or its regional entities.
Continue Reading FERC Staff Issues Report on Bonneville Power Administration’s Reliability Standards Audit