- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has signed off on new rules, procedures and standards including emergency preparedness and operations (EOP), reliability standards, system restoration from blackstart resources, restoration control and a loss of control center functionality.
- The new rules become effective 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register Jan. 24.
- The new rules, submitted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), also include associated violation risk factors, violation severity levels, and implementation plans.
NERC proposed standards in March of last year, with an aim to streamline the currently-effective EOP reliability standards, remove redundancies and other unnecessary language, and address some of FERC's concerns regarding system restoration training.
The new rules will go into effect on March 26.
FERC said the new rule "will enhance reliability by providing accurate reporting of events to NERC's event analysis group to analyze the impact on the reliability of the bulk electric system," and would specify the roles and responsibilities of entities that support system restoration from blackstart resources which generate power without the support of the bulk electric system.
The commission also approved new procedures and coordination requirements for reliability coordinator personnel to execute system restoration processes, and refined the required elements of an operating plan used to "continue reliable operations of the bulk electric system in the event that primary control center functionality is lost."
As written now under the standard reliability, coordinators must report to NERC when they operate outside of their interconnection reliability operating limit for 30 minutes or more. The new rules eliminate the IROL violation reporting requirement, because according to NERC that standard is largely used for trending analysis and developing lessons learned and not designed to be a real-time tool.
This is the second batch of rules to come out of the U.S. Department of Energy this month. DOE issued a final rule establishing procedural regulations guiding the Secretary of Energy through the process of issuing emergency orders under the Federal Power Act in the event of a grid emergency.
Those emergency directives would be ordered to maintain or restore grid reliability should the President declare a grid security emergency — something which could result from a physical attack, a cyberattack, an electromagnetic pulse or a geomagnetic storm event.
Cyberattacks have been a constant worry for the industry in recent years.
In 2017, more than 6,000 individuals participated in a simulated attack on the power grid, an exercise held once every two years by NERC. A report detailing the exercise's findings is expected this spring.