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Electric Reliability Update - May 1, 2017: FERC Approves Reliability Standards IRO-002-5 and TOP-001-4; Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Legislation Introduced; Department of Energy Holds Peer Review of Grid Modernization Initiative

FERC

FERC Approves Reliability Standards IRO-002-5 and TOP-001-4 - April 17 - FERC issued a letter order approving proposed Reliability Standards IRO-002-5 (Reliability Coordination - Monitoring and Analysis) and TOP-001-4 (Transmission Operations). The Reliability Standards, which NERC submitted to FERC for approval on March 6, 2017, address FERC’s directives in Order No. 817 related to: (1) transmission operator monitoring of non-bulk electric system facilities; (2) redundancy and diverse routing of transmission operator, balancing authority, and reliability coordinator data exchange capabilities; and (3) testing of alternative or less frequently used data exchange capabilities.

Congress

Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Legislation Introduced - April 6 – The Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act of 2017 was introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on April 6. The bill acknowledges the December 23, 2015 cyberattack on the Ukrainian power grid, and would (i) reaffirm commitment of the United States to its bilateral relationship with Ukraine, (ii) state that it is the sense of Congress that the State Department should provide Ukraine with cybersecurity support for government and critical infrastructure systems, and (iii) require the State Department to submit a report to Congress within 180 days on the status of the United States cybersecurity cooperation with Ukraine. 

Other Developments

Department of Energy (DOE) Holds Peer Review of Grid Modernization Initiative - April 26 - On April 18-21, DOE held a peer review of its Grid Modernization Initiative (GMI) in Arlington, Virginia. The event, which involved sixteen outside experts, involved a review of the portfolio of over eighty projects of the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC), a key component of DOE’s GMI, and lessons learned and best practices drawn from the GMLC projects. Stakeholders from state and local government, utilities, and industry also participated in the event. 

DOE Submits Strategic Transformer Reserve Report to Congress - March – DOE submitted a Strategic Transformer Reserve report to Congress pursuant to the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which required DOE to submit to Congress a plan to establish a strategic transformer reserve for the storage of spare large power transformers and emergency mobile substations.  In the report, DOE evaluated options for establishing a strategic transformer reserve and recommended encouraging and supporting an industry-based option driven by voluntary industry actions and NERC reliability standards.  DOE also recommended that it reassess after a year whether sufficient progress has been made under an industry-based approach within a year to warrant continuation or alternative governmental action.  

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About this Author

Malcolm C. McLellan, Van Ness Feldman Law Firm, Seattle, Cybersecurity and Energy Law Attorney
Partner

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;...

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

Suzanne Keppeler 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.

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Darshana Singh, Van Ness Feldman Law Firm, Washington DC, Cybersecurity and Energy Law Attorney
Associate

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...

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