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NERC provides update on bulk electric system process implementation plan

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) recently announced that it and a number of regional partners had completed the development of all processes, information technology tools and other guidance measures that utilities can use to implement the bulk electric system as defined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

In the update, NERC noted that all of the tools and guidance documents that were created were made to give utilities the clearest possible outline for implementing FERC's newly revised BES rules, which are set to go into effect on July 1. NERC did note, however, that the updates are to help the industry prepare for events that would only occur on extremely rare occasions, and the assets that would be affected would be minimal. 

"Use of the new electric reliability organization (ERO) enterprise processes provide a common interface between registered entities and their respective Regional Entity in several of the major steps required to implement the revised definition," NERC stated in its announcement.

The group continued on to discuss how the revised BES processes include a more standardized process for notifying industry players of self-determined inclusions or exclusions, as well as a single, uniform way for submitting exception requests. 

To further help the electric industry understand the changes, NERC has agreed to host several webinars that not only will go over the new rules, but the changes to the inclusions and exclusions processes. 

In a recent newsletter, NERC also highlighted its Task Force Issues Misoperations report, which discusses how nearly all serious system events other than severe weather can be attributed to relay or automatic control misoperation.

"The areas identified in this report help to highlight a key reliability concern - protection system misoperations," said Jessica Bian, director of Performance Analysis. "The analysis provides a quantitative basis for misoperation reduction and mitigation that entities can apply to improve bulk power system reliability."

Following this report, FERC issued an order that was purported to boost reliability by ensuring generators install the necessary reactive and voltage control, which can help utilities manage voltage levels, reactive flows and other areas that could protect equipment and assets. 

As NERC continues to develop new standards for the utilities industry, power companies are also having to comply with strict NERC CIP guidelines that were developed to protect utilities from cyber attack. SUBNET helps utilities comply with such standards without having to replace or upgrade both hardware and software, but rather by leveraging an existing power network and using the IT system that is already in place. 

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