Julia Sullivan and Porter Wiseman Pen NERC Article for Natural Gas & Electricity

For its August edition, Natural Gas & Electricity has published Akin Gump energy regulation, markets and enforcement practice co-head Julia Sullivan and senior attorney Porter Wiseman’s article “NERC’s Reliability Assurance Initiative: What Registered Entities Can Do.”

In the article, Sullivan and Wiseman discussed, among other topics, the actions North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is taking to improve its authority to monitor and enforce compliance with the reliability standards to Regional Entities (REs):

  • Streamlining the Reliability Standards – “[Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)] observed that if many reliability violations involve little risk to the [bulk-power system], then perhaps the standards themselves require revisions. FERC authorized NERC to retire 34 reliability requirements that were found to ‘(1) provide little protection for Bulk-Power System reliability or (2) [be] redundant with other aspects of the Reliability Standards…’ Recently, NERC’s CEO stated that more than 200 requirements will be abolished, while others will be revised for quality and clarity.”
  • Reliability Assurance Initiative – “Having concluded that the existing enforcement regime was ‘not practical, effective, nor sustainable,’ the [Electric Reliability Organization (ERO)] developed the Reliability Assurance Initiative (RAI) and began implementation in early 2013. When fully implemented, the RAI will allow entities with strong compliance programs to take primary responsibility for the detection, remediation, and reporting of lower-risk violations, subject to RE and NERC oversight. Enforcement resources will be concentrated on violations that pose ‘serious or substantial’ risks to the BPS... The RAI is scheduled to be fully implemented in 2016.”
  • Changes to Enforcement Program – “The ERO is implementing abbreviated enforcement procedures that are intended to reduce the administrative burden on ERO staff and registered entities. The centerpiece of this effort is the ‘find, fix, track, and report,’ or FFT, mechanism, which FERC approved in March 2012... As of June 20, 2014, almost 2,000 FFTs had been processed since the program began…The processing time for violations has been reduced from an average of more than 13 months to between six and seven months over the course of 2013, and NERC’s processing backlog has been substantially reduced.”

To read the full article, please click here.