Electric Reliability Update - May 9, 2013

May 9, 2013

FERC AND NERC

NERC Announces New Notification and Exception Processing Tool to Assist with Implementation of Revised BES Definition – NERC is developing a new “BES Notification and Exception Processing Tool” to standardize the process for notifying the Regions of inclusions and exclusions from the Bulk Electric System (BES), as well as for submitting and processing exception requests in compliance with the requirements of Order Nos. 773 and 773-A.  NERC expects the tool to be operational on July 1, 2013 – the date when the new BES definition becomes effective.  NERC also announced that it will hold one-day webinar workshops on the new BES definition, the exception process, and the new Processing Tool during June 17-21.

NERC Posts Two “Lessons Learned” Guidance Documents April 16 – NERC posted two Lessons Learned guidance documents.  The first document, “Transmission Relaying – Undesired Blocking,” primarily applies to Transmission Owners, and addresses Directional Comparison Blocking schemes and the importance of quickly stopping the transmission of the blocking signal for internal faults.  The second document, “Lack of Separation for Critical Control Power Supply Leads to Loss of Multiple Units at a Power Station,” primarily applies to Generator Owners and Generator Operators and addresses a short circuit AC control power panel that resulted in the trip of one generator at a large power plant and in the loss of two additional generators at the same plant, causing a large system frequency disturbance.

FERC Approves NERC and SERC Compliance Filing in Response to Order No. 772 April 30 – FERC approved NERC and SERC’s compliance filing in response to Order No. 772, which directed modification of the Violation Risk Factor for Requirement 6 of PRC-006-SERC-01, concerning  Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding Requirements.

NERC Filings – Recent NERC filings at FERC include: (1) Motion for Leave to Answer and Answer on the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association Appeal Answer; (2) Petition for Approval of Amendments to Delegation Agreement with MRO - Amendments to the MRO Regional Reliability Standard Process Manual; and (3) Informational Report on Standards Process Results for First Quarter 2013. 

NERC Penalties April 30 – NERC filed with FERC (1) two Notices of Penalty (NOPs); (2) a spreadsheet NOP resolving 80 violations; and (3) 75 remediated issues in Find, Fix, and Track filings.

Regional

SPP Posts “Lessons Learned” Guidance Document April 12 – SPP posted a Lessons Learned guidance document entitled “Human Error Leads to Evacuation of Primary Control Room,” which discusses a situation where a utility had to evacuate its primary control center due to smoke from a fire caused by maintenance workers’ failure to follow procedures.

Texas RE Approves Regional Primary Frequency Response Standard April 23 – The Board of Directors for the Texas Regional Entity (Texas RE) approved regional standard BAL-001-TRE-1, Primary Frequency Response, for use in the ERCOT Region.  According to Texas RE, the standard “includes requirements that ensure adequate interconnection-wide frequency response, set forth specific governor settings for various types of generators, and require governors to be kept in service” and “contains frequency response performance metrics for individual generators, incorporating a rolling-average approach to even out each unit’s response to individual events.”  The standard will be forwarded to NERC and FERC for approval.

NERC and SPP Seek Approval of Load Shedding Standard April 26 – NERC and SPP jointly filed apetition for approval of proposed regional reliability standard PRC-006-SPP-01.  SPP’s proposed region-specific Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding standard is stricter than NERC’s baseline standard, PRC-006-1.  Among other things, SPP’s standard applies to generators, requires regulated entities to develop plans to accommodate more severe events, and has more granular data submittal requirements.  This is SPP’s first proposed regional standard.

WECC Posts Amendment to Bylaws and Draft Reliability Coordination Company (RCCo) Bylaws for Review – At WECC’s April 16th Special Board Meeting, the WECC Board considered proposed amendments to the WECC Bylaws to bifurcate WECC’s Regional Entity and Registered Entity functional activities into two independent companies.  A WECC member vote on the amendments is scheduled to occur at the Annual Meeting on June 27, 2013.  Additionally, WECC also posted a draft of the RCCo Bylaws for review and comment by noon (Mountain Time) on May 14.  More information is available on WECC’s website for the Interim Board Committee.

NERC Regions Post 2014 Business Plans May 3 – Consistent with NERC’s schedule, Regional Entities have begun to release their 2014 business plans and budgets.  Regional Entities that have publicly posted 2014 business plans and budgets include ReliabilityFirstSERC, and WECC.

OTHER NEWS AND DEVELOPMENTS

Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report Now Available From ICS-CERT April 23 – The Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) posted a report from Verizon that summarizes the results of its 2012 study of data breaches and cyber attacks. The report analyzes more than 47,000 reported security incidents and 621 confirmed data breaches from across multiple industries and countries in 2012.  Among other findings, the report concluded that 92 % of all breaches in 2012 were perpetrated by outside entities, and 19 % of breaches were perpetrated by state-affiliated actors.

Department of Energy (DOE) Announces Awards for Synchrophasor Engineering Education Program May 1 – The DOE announced that it has selected seven projects for awards totaling approximately $1.4 million to assist colleges and universities better prepare the electricity industry workforce of the future.  Specifically, the awards facilitate access by researchers and students access to utility data from Phase Measurement Units, and expand the college and university curricula on grid dynamics, process simulation, control, and analysis tools for the electric grid.  The seven colleges and universities receiving awards are: Washington State University, North Carolina State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Wyoming, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Texas Tech University, and Clemson University.

EISPC Announces Release of New Energy Planning Tool  May 3 – The Eastern Interconnection States Planning Council (EISPC) announced the release of its “EZ Mapping Tool,” an online tool intended to help governments and other parties to identify areas within the Eastern Interconnection that are appropriate for the development of eight clean energy technologies.  The EZ Mapping Tool is supported by three national labs. 

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The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Andrew ArtMalcolm McLellan and Gabe Tabak, with assistance from Christopher ZentzThomas HuttonIlan Gutherz, and Van Smith.  Van Ness Feldman counsels, advises and trains a wide range of clients on reliability matters.  Please email us for additional information.