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FERC Reliability Primer, FAST Act Final Rule, NERC Procedure Rules: Electric Reliability Update - December 22, 2016

FERC

Final Rule on Critical Energy Infrastructure Information – December 21 – FERC issued a final rule amending its regulations to implement provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”) that pertain to the designation, protection, and sharing of Critical Electric Infrastructure Information (“CEII”). The amendment includes procedures for submitting, designating, handling, sharing and disseminating CEII submitted to or generated by the Commission. The rule becomes effective on February 21, 2017.

FERC Releases 2016 Reliability Primer - December 8 - FERC staff released its 2016 "Reliability Primer," which provides an overview of FERC's role in overseeing the nation's bulk power system.  The reports discusses FERC's authority under the Federal Power Act with regard to reliability, how it has implemented that authority, and the relationship of NERC,FERC, and industry. 

NERC

NERC Petitions for the Approval of Proposed Revisions to the Rules of Procedure - December 9 – NERC’s current Rules of Procedure ("ROP") provide Regional Entities the authority to conduct hearings to resolve contested noncompliance, mitigation plans, remedial action directives, penalties, or sanctions. NERC's proposed revisions would incorporate the Consolidated Hearing Process within the ROP, which would provide Regional Entities an option to select NERC to manage the hearing process. 

WECC, NERC Release Joint Report on Reliability Assurance Project of the Western Interconnection - December 5 - NERC and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) released a report on the Reliability Assurance Project of the Western Interconnection, an initiative to assess the current status of the Interconnection across key operational practice areas. The report includes best practices and areas for improvement based off of observations from visits to 14 of the 50 Transmission Operators across the West. 

NERC Penalty Activity - November 30 - NERC filed with FERC a spreadsheet notice of penalty resolving 25 violations of 5 Reliability Standards. 

Other Developments

White House Announces Joint U.S.-Canada Electric Grid Security and Resilience Strategy and Associated U.S. Action Plan - December 12 - In an effort to align cross-border efforts to reduce systemic risk to the electric grid, the Federal Governments of the United States and Canada issued the Joint U.S.-Canada Electric Grid Security and Resilience Strategy.  The Joint Strategy has three strategic goals: to protect the grid and enhance preparedness, manage contingencies and enhance response and recovery efforts, and build a more secure and resilient future electric grid. The Joint Strategy will be implemented in accordance with separate U.S. and Canadian Action Plans, which detail specific steps and milestones for achieving the Strategy's goals within each nation. The U.S. Electric Grid Security and Resilience Action Plan, which can be found here, details the activities, deliverables, and timelines that will be undertaken by U.S. Federal agencies for the United States to make progress toward the Strategy’s goals.   

DOE Issues NOPR on Issuance of Grid Security Emergency Orders - December 7 – Pursuant to Section 215A of the Federal Power Act, which authorizes  the Secretary of Energy to order emergency measures after the President declares a grid security emergency, DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) proposing internal procedures for issuance of a grid security emergency order.  The proposed procedures, which would be codified at 10 C.F.R. Par t 205, are intended to ensure the expeditious issuance of emergency orders under the Federal Power Act.  Comments on the NOPR are due on February 6, 2017. 

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About this Author

Malcolm C. McLellan, Electric Energy and Regulated Business Attorney, Van Ness Feldman, Seattle Law Firm
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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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 Washington University Law School, Darsh served as a Vice President of the Antitrust Club and participated in the school’s Moot Court teams.

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