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Electric Reliability Update - May 15, 2017


FERC Approves Power System Stabilizer Regional Reliability Standard - April 28 – FERC accepted via letter order a petition from NERC and WECC seeking approval of proposed regional reliability standard VAR-501-WECC-3 (Power System Stabilizer) and the associated implementation plan. VAR-501-WECC-3 establishes the performance criteria for power system stabilizers to help ensure the Western Interconnection is operated in a coordinated manner under normal and abnormal conditions. The standard would require WECC Generator Owners and Operators to:  (1) provide Transmission Operators with procedures or other documents that inform the Transmission Operator of when a power system stabilizer will be out of service; (2) have the power system stabilizer in service at all times except during specific circumstances; (3) tune power system stabilizers to stated criteria; (4) install and complete start-up testing of a power system stabilizer; and (5) repair or replace a power system stabilizer within a specified time period. The standard will become effective on July 1, 2017.


NERC Evaluates August Solar Eclipse - April 25 - NERC released a white paper entitled "A Wide-Area Perspective on the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse" to evaluate the potential impacts that a solar eclipse may have on system loading and reliability issues spurring from a decreased amount of distributed energy resources.  NERC is confident that the eclipse is unlikely to cause any reliability issues due to low solar generation levels, but recommends that utilities in all states perform studies on the eclipse's impact on solar photovoltaic power output.

NERC Penalty Activity - April 27 - NERC filed with FERC a spreadsheet notice of penalty resolving 32 violations of 14 Reliability Standards totaling $2,292,000.

Regional Developments

PJM Releases Summer Reliability Assessment - May 8 - PJM Interconnection LLC (PJM) released its 2017 summer reliability assessment stating that it has enough power to meet anticipated peak demand for the regions 65 million consumers.  Due to predicted above-average temperatures, PJM has enhanced the reliability of the power supply by holding generators to stricter standards and increasing its reserve margin to 29 percent, 13.6 percent higher than required.

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About this Author

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

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 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.

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

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...