NERC board to consider penalties for reliability violators

Jan. 5, 2001 — The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), the organization which promotes reliability of the bulk electric transmission system, will consider fines and sanctions against companies violating its reliability standards at the February board meeting.

In addition, NERC's board will consider a new funding model incorporating user fees. The proposal is part of the not-for-profit organization's planned transition from a voluntary group to an independent self-regulated industry organization.

Composed of 10 regional reliability councils accounting for most of the electricity supplies in the U.S., Canada, and a portion of Baja California, NERC was established after the Northeast blackout of 1965. Up to now, it has worked as a voluntary association developing standards for reliable operation of the grid and encouraging compliance.

But the organization has no legislated authority to enforce its rules. Federal open access rules and electricity deregulation have heightened NERC's profile at a time fears are growing the grid is open to abuse.

Details of NERC's proposal are contained in the group's response to a U.S. Energy Department (DOE) call for comments on whether DOE should institute a rulemaking procedure to impose mandatory electric reliability standards for the interstate electric grid under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) jurisdiction.

In a sharply worded rebuke, NERC said the DOE should focus its time and attention on "securing legislation" that will give NERC authority to set and enforce rules governing the grid "rather than pursuing a rulemaking."

Noting the U.S. Senate passed a bill last June establishing an independent reliability organization, NERC said under existing law, FERC does not have adequate or clear-cut responsibility for reliability and a rulemaking procedure is inadequate to overcome that shortcoming. It says legislation is the "only effective" means of making accountability enforceable.

Funding needed
Under proposed federal legislation, an electric reliability organization would set and enforce rules for the reliable operation of the bulk power system and report on the adequacy of generation capacity and the transmission system—many of the duties NERC performs today as a voluntary group.

Among its members would be the regional transmission organizations (RTO), acting as system operators. FERC has ordered owners of the bulk power grid to ban together into regional groups to increase efficiency and make the system more accessible at reasonable charges to independent power producers.

The RTOs would be obligated to comply with reliability standards developed by the reliability organization and approved by FERC.

With use rising and mutual self-help declining, NERC says it is only a matter of time before the next major grid failure occurs. Already, serious violations, including unreported use of the grid, refusal to reduce scheduled transactions when called upon by security coordinators, and failure to eliminate violations within prescribed time periods, are on the rise.

NERC says DOE also could advance the "urgent need" for mandatory and enforceable standards by funding development of tools for monitoring system conditions and managing flows on congested interfaces. With such government help, NERC says, all security coordinators would then have the best tools available.

Presently, NERC is only able to fund projects which the regional councils and their members are willing to support. And with many utilities operating under rate caps and freezes, money is sometimes short for NERC projects.

Once reliability legislation is adopted, NERC says it will have authority to fund badly needed improvements via charges to all users of the system.

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

Vermont Yankee ends operations after 42 years

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant stopped sending power to the New England electric grid at just after noon Monday following more than 42 years of producing electricity from the southeastern Vermont town of Vernon.

Harvard Law professor says Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional

Laurence H. Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard University and former mentor to Barack Obama, said in an article last week that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter
Latest News

EIA: Coal-fired generation alive and well in the coming decade

Coal-fired power generation from existing plants will increase through 2025, this according t...

Report: Nuke dump radiation leak could have been prevented

A radiation leak that forced the indefinite closure of the federal government's only undergro...

Areva’s nuclear reactor vessel flaws may be “costly”

The French nuclear regulator says anomalies found in Areva’s nuclear reactor technology are “...

Southern Power acquires 32MW solar project from First Solar

Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary, Southern Power, has acquired controlling interest in...

Second robot completes survey of Fukushima reactor containment vessel

A second shape-shifting robot completed a survey from inside of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear...

PacifiCorp considers joining California ISO

PacifiCorp signed a memorandum of understanding to explore full participation in the Californ...

Herbert: Uranium shouldn't be in Utah before federal review

Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he wants federal regulators to review how hazardous a ty...

Environmentalists press for bill to expand solar power

Environmentalists are urging lawmakers to back a bill they say would help more residents inve...

Power Engineering Current Issue

Volume 118, Issue 12
Products Showcase
Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Industry Wire News

Dais Analytic Corporation Appoints Eliza Wang to Board of Directors

Dais Analytic Corporation Appoints Eliza Wang to Board of Directors

Magnum Hunter Resources Chairman and CEO to Present at IPAA OGIS New York 2015

Magnum Hunter Resources Chairman and CEO to Present at IPAA OGIS New York 2015

GEI Global Energy Corp. Explores Solar Opportunities

GEI Global Energy Corp. Explores Solar Opportunities

Envision Solar Installs Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations in San Francisco as Part of "Driving on Sunshine" Campaign

Envision Solar Installs Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations in San Francisco as Part of ...

ZBB Energy and Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) Announce Global Strategic Partnership With an Initial Supply Agreement Valued at Between $80 Million and $120 Million

ZBB Energy and Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) Announce Global Strategic Partnership With an In...

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>