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Electric Reliability Update - February 16, 2017: FERC Issues Order on CAISO BAL-003-1.1 Compliance; NERC Withdraws Petition for Approval of Interpretation of Disturbance Control Performance Reliability Standard


FERC Issues Order on CAISO BAL-003-1.1 Compliance  – February 2 – FERC issued an order on compliance, clarification, and rehearing in a proceeding in which CAISO filed tariff revisions to comply with Reliability Standard BAL-003-1.1 – Frequency Response and Frequency Bias Setting (BAL-003-1.1) which established CAISO’s authority to procure transferred frequency response from other Balancing Authorities (BA).  In the order, FERC granted requests for clarification that contracts for transferred frequency response may be supported by a BA’s frequency response measure, consistent with the performance standard required for BAL-003-1.1 compliance and accepted a CAISO compliance filing.  FERC also denied requests for rehearing that CAISO’s transferred frequency response compliance scheme was flawed.  

FERC Approves NERC/WECC Interpretation of Regional Reliability Standard BAL-002-WECC-2a - January 24 - FERC issued a letter order approving a proposed NERC/WECC interpretation of regional Reliability Standard BAL-002-WECC-2a (Contingency Reserve).  The interpretation incorporates FERC’s determination that non-traditional resources may qualify as “Operating Reserve-Spinning,” provided applicable requirements are met.

FERC Schedules Technical Conference on Grid Reliability Policy Issues - January 24 - FERC announced that a Commissioner-led technical conference will be held on June 22, 2017 to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System. An agenda will be issued at a later date.


NERC Withdraws Petition for Approval of Interpretation of Disturbance Control Performance Reliability Standard - February 2 - NERC submitted to FERC a Notice of Withdrawal of its petition for approval of interpretation to Reliability Standard BAL-002-1 (Disturbance Control Performance).  After NERC filed the petition in February 2013 and FERC proposed to remand it, NERC developed Reliability Standard BAL-002-2 (Disturbance Control Performance - Contingency Reserve for Recovery from a Balancing Contingency Event) to replace BAL-002-1, making the petition unnecessary.

NERC Penalty Activity - January 30 - NERC filed with FERC a spreadsheet notice of penalty resolving 3 violations of 3 Reliability Standards totaling $72,000.  


House Passes Cybersecurity Bills - February 1 - The House of Representatives passed bills on a range of cybersecurity issues: (1) the Transit Security Grant Program Flexibility Act amends the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 to clarify allowable uses of funds for public transportation security assistance grants; (2) the Cyber Preparedness Act of 2017 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to enhance preparedness and response capabilities for cyber attacks, and to strengthen the dissemination of information related to cyber threats; and (3)  the United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2017 establishes a grant program at the Department of Homeland Security to promote cooperative research and development between the United States and Israel on cybersecurity.

House Subcommittee on Energy Holds Hearing on Response to Cybersecurity Threats - February 1 - The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy held its first hearing of the 115th Congress examining the electricity sector’s efforts to address current and future cyber threats.  Subcommittee Chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) stated that the subcommittee’s agenda will focus on structural, economic, and technological factors affecting development and security of the nation's electricity system.  NERC President and CEO Gerry Cauley provided testimony focusing on the efforts in place by NERC to address cybersecurity and grid protection through CIP standards, situational awareness, and information sharing and collaboration with government and industry.

Regional Developments

CAISO Submits Tariff Revision to Comply with Outage Reliability Standard - January 27 - CAISO requested FERC approval of proposed revisions to the outage coordination provisions of the CAISO tariff.  CAISO state that the revisions are needed in order to conform the CAISO tariff to Peak Reliability's (Peak) implementation of Reliability Standard IRO-017-1 (Outage Coordination), which now requires separate approval from both Peak and CAISO before generators or transmission operators may take an outage.   CAISO requested that FERC approve the revisions by March 28, 2017, to comply with the Reliability Standard's April 1, 2017 mandatory compliance date.

© 2017 Van Ness Feldman LLP


About this Author

Malcolm C. McLellan, Electric Energy and Regulated Business Attorney, Van Ness Feldman, Seattle Law Firm

Malcolm’s practice focuses on the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric energy and regulated businesses. Malcolm has an intricate knowledge of the technical, legal, and business considerations facing electric utilities.  He regularly advises on Open Access Transmission Tariff and business practice compliance issues, reliability standards, standards of conduct, market behavior rules, interlocking director rules, electronic quarterly reporting, and accounting rules. He has significant experience with developing comprehensive energy compliance programs;...

Suzanne McBride, Van Ness Feldman Law Firm, Energy and Gas Attorney
Of Counsel

Suzanne McBride focuses her practice on the representation of electric and natural gas utilities and oil pipeline companies on a wide range of regulatory matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and U.S. Courts of Appeal. She counsels various clients on rate development, contract and tariff provisions, regulatory compliance and investigation defense, administrative litigation, and transactional matters. She also advises on compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and regional reliability standards, including self-reports, spot checks, formal audits and enforcement actions involving NERC and FERC’s Office of Enforcement.

Darshana Singh, Energy Regulatory Law Clerk, Van Ness Feldman, D.C. Law firm
Law Clerk

Darsh Singh assists clients and firm professionals in the energy regulatory arena. Prior to joining Van Ness Feldman, Darsh served as a law clerk in the Office of Administrative Litigation at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and interned at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).   While at FERC, Darsh assisted Trial Staff in natural gas and oil pipeline rate proceedings and conducted research on market-based rates.   During her time at the FTC, Darsh focused on complex antitrust and consumer protection issues. 

While at The George...