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Electric associations back changes to NERC program for streamlined handling of reliability violations


From the April 18, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 18, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
A coalition of electric trade associations, including APPA, urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to promptly approve the North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s proposed enhancements to its "Find, Fix, Track and Report" (FFT) program. In a joint April 15 filing, the associations said the changes would allow the program to "better deliver the intended benefits: refocusing time and resources of NERC, its regional entities, and registered entities away from issues that pose lesser risks to bulk-power system reliability so that they can be reallocated toward activities that enhance reliability, and better align commitment of resources to risk."

The commission should approve NERC’s March 15 filing with the expectation that NERC will continue to examine the program and propose additional steps to further improve it, said APPA, the Edison Electric Institute, Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON), Electric Power Supply Association, Large Public Power Council, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Transmission Access Policy Study Group.

NERC’s March 15 one-year report on the FFT program shows that the program is improving the ability of NERC and its regional entities to process lesser-risk violations more efficiently, and therefore enable them to begin to focus on issues of greater importance, the associations said.

NERC’s proposal would extend FFT treatment to a subset of moderate risk issues, i.e., isolated instances of non-compliance posing moderate risk where the registered entity has already established a strong internal compliance program with controls designed to prevent, detect and correct violations of the particular reliability standard. NERC also would expand the program to include violations on track to be mitigated within three months, rather than requiring that mitigation be completed in advance. Eliminating the requirement that a senior officer certify remediation would remove a burden that does not advance reliability, the associations said.

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