Powering Strong Communities

Groups Support NERC Proposed Revisions Submitted To FERC

The American Public Power Association (APPA), the Large Public Power Council (LPPC) and the Transmission Access Policy Study Group (TAPS) said in joint comments submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that several of the changes resulting from proposed rules of procedure (ROP) revisions would appropriately implement the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) risk-based Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP).

The groups urged FERC to approve the proposed changes.

At issue are ROP revisions filed by NERC and its six regional entities. As NERC explains in its filing, the proposed revisions to the ROP are designed to enhance NERC’s risk-based approach to monitoring and enforcing compliance with the NERC reliability standards and to enhance the ROP to add clarity and simplify unduly burdensome administrative business practices.

APPA, LPPC and TAPS noted that they have long supported a risk-based approach to NERC’s compliance monitoring and enforcement program, and said the proposed revisions to the ROP are appropriately aimed at reducing unnecessary burdens on NERC and registered entities while enhancing the effectiveness of the risk-based compliance monitoring and enforcement program approach.

The ROP revisions included in the September 29, 2021 filing were informed by substantial industry input.

APPA, LPPC and TAPS submitted detailed comments on NERC’s initial draft ROP changes, expressing general support for improved risk-based compliance, while providing a number of proposed changes, clarifications, and questions.

“The Public Power Trade Associations appreciate NERC’s consideration of these comments, and the alterations made to the proposed ROP in response. While not incorporating every comment in full, NERC responded meaningfully to the issues raised by the Public Power Trade Associations,” APPA, LPPC and TAPS said.

Such collaboration ultimately enhances the compliance monitoring and enforcement program by minimizing disputes over the CMEP’s rules, and by fostering confidence that industry perspectives on risk-based compliance are being heard, the groups said.

They highlighted the change reflected in a revised ROP section that would grant the relevant Compliance Enforcement Authority discretion as to when to conduct compliance audits rather than requiring an audit every three years, regardless of reliability or security justification.

APPA, LPPC and TAPS endorsed this change as advancing the risk-based approach to the compliance monitoring and enforcement program “and we urge the Commission to accept NERC’s proposed ROP revisions on this issue.”

They also endorsed NERC’s proposed changes to the evidence retention period for compliance audits.

Consistent with the recommendations of NERC’s recently concluded Standards Efficiency Review initiative these revisions would ensure adequate evidence to support compliance reviews, while reducing registered entities’ administrative burden and costs, the groups said. The proposed evidence retention change, as well as the other ROP revisions included in the September 29 filing, should be approved, they added.