NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard EOP-002-2 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard EOP-002-2

NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard EOP-002-2

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Big Rivers Electric Corporation (BREC), Docket No. NP13-8-000, November 30, 2012

Reliability Standard: EOP-002-2

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: SERC

Issue: Further to a Compliance Investigation, SERC reported a violation of R4 when BREC, as a BA, failed to undertake all required actions before requesting the initiation of an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA). Specifically, on June 13, 2008, BREC failed to curtail a 4 hour and 38 minute-long 20 MW non-firm wholesale energy sale. For reliability-based reasons, as a BA, BREC may curtail non-firm sales at any point in time. In spite of this, BREC made a non-firm sale after having contacted the RC and after the RC had posted the EEA to its Information System.

Finding: SERC determined that the R4 violation posed a minimal risk to the reliability of the BPS because although the non-firm wholesale energy sale occurred during an EEA 2 and could have escalated the event to an EEA 3, BREC made the sale to another member of the Midwest Contingency Reserve Sharing Group. Therefore, there was no actual reduction of the Group's net capacity. SERC and BREC entered into a settlement agreement to resolve multiple violations, whereby BREC agreed to pay a penalty and to undertake other mitigation measures to come into compliance with R4. SERC considered BREC's internal compliance program a mitigating factor in making its penalty determination. The violation occurred on June 13, 2008. BREC neither admits nor denies the R4 violation.

Penalty: $15,000 (aggregate for 6 violations)

FERC Order: Issued December 28, 2012 (no further review)

Big Rivers Electric Corporation (BREC), Docket No. NP13-8-000, November 30, 2012

Reliability Standard: EOP-002-2

Requirement: R7; R7.2

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: SERC

Issue: Further to a Compliance Investigation, SERC reported a violation of R7 when BREC, as a BA, failed to curtail a 20 MW non-firm wholesale energy sale after an EEA 2 was initiated. For reliability-based reasons, as a BA, BREC may curtail non-firm sales at any point in time. In spite of this, BREC made a non-firm sale after having contacted the RC and after the RC had posted the EEA to its Information System.

Finding: SERC determined that the R7 violation posed a minimal risk to the reliability of the BPS because although the non-firm wholesale energy sale occurred during an EEA 2 and could have escalated the situation to an EEA3, BREC made the sale to a member of the Midwest Contingency Reserve Sharing Group, thus yielding no reduction of the net capacity available within the Group. SERC and BREC entered into a settlement agreement to resolve multiple violations, whereby BREC agreed to pay a penalty and to undertake other mitigation measures to come into compliance with R7. SERC considered BREC's internal compliance program a mitigating factor in making its penalty determination. The violation occurred on June 13, 2008. BREC neither admits nor denies the R7 violation.

Penalty: $15,000 (aggregate for 6 violations)

FERC Order: Issued December 28, 2012 (no further review)

Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., FERC Docket No. NP11-268-000 (September 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: EOP-002-2

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: Texas RE

Issue: Through an audit, Texas RE determined that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) violated the Standard because the manager of systems operations interfered with the on-duty operating personnel's implementation of procedures for declaring an Emergency Electric Curtailment Plan Step 1 ("EECP Step 1") event, directing the operating personnel to wait before formally declaring the emergency. The manager's direction also directly violated ERCOT's regional rules.

Finding: Texas RE determined that the violation posed a serious and substantial risk to the BPS because emergency conditions existed that required the EECP Step 1 event be declared. Moreover, ERCOT is the only Balancing Authority and Reliability Coordinator that could have declared the EECP Step 1 event in response to the emergency. Duration of violation was November 29, 2007. Texas RE and the NERC BOTCC took into consideration that this was ERCOT's first violation of the Standard in reaching a penalty assessment, and also concluded that the serious and substantial risk to the BPS constituted an aggravating factor..

Penalty: $384,000 (aggregate for 15 violations)

FERC Order: Issued October 28, 2011 (no further review)

Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., FERC Docket No. NP11-268-000 (September 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: EOP-002-2

Requirement: R2 and R8

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: Texas RE

Issue: On February 26, 2008, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) declared an Emergency Electric Curtailment Plan Step 2 (EECP2) event on its system due to an unexpected imbalance between generation and load, causing a reduction in system frequency to levels that were outside acceptance operational limits. The event lasted two hours, but did not reduce in involuntary customer load shedding. Through an audit, Texas RE determined that ERCOT failed to implement its emergency plan correctly because ERCOT did not use approximately 90 MW available through a DC tie at the time of the event. Moreover, in its first hotline call to Qualified Scheduling Entities (QSEs) regarding the emergency, ERCOT failed to direct QSEs to deploy Loads acting as Response (LaaRs) as required by ERCOT protocols. Both failures led to a violation of R2. In violation of R8, the Austin Control Center operator did not use the correct NERC Energy Emergency Alert level when communicating with the Southwest Power Pool about the event.

Finding: Texas RE determined that the violation posed a serious and substantial risk to the BPS because it put the Texas grid reliability at unnecessary and avoidable higher levels of risk than would otherwise have been the case, potentially leading to a wide spread and severe system disturbance. Duration of violation was February 26, 2008. Texas RE and the NERC BOTCC took into consideration that this was ERCOT's first violation of the Standard in reaching a penalty assessment, and also concluded that the serious and substantial risk to the BPS constituted an aggravating factor.

Penalty: $384,000 (aggregate for 15 violations)

FERC Order: Issued October 28, 2011 (no further review)

Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., FERC Docket No. NP11-268-000 (September 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: EOP-002-2

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: Texas RE

Issue: Through an audit, Texas RE determined that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) violated the Standard because ERCOT could not produce evidence that it is able to schedule interchange across DC ties with neighboring balancing authorities in advance when operating capacity or energy emergencies are expected. Moreover, ERCOT's agreement with SPP for energy during an emergency was found insufficient because to be compliant, ERCOT must be able to implement schedule interchange in advance of an emergency.

Finding: Texas RE determined that the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the BPS because ERCOT had the ability to request assistance in anticipation of an emergency, and the small amount of power that could be brought across DC ties is not relied upon by ERCOT in its planning. Duration of violation was June 18, 2007 through November 25, 2008. Texas RE and the NERC BOTCC took into consideration that this was ERCOT's first violation of the Standard in reaching a penalty assessment.

Penalty: $384,000 (aggregate for 15 violations)

FERC Order: Issued October 28, 2011 (no further review)

PacifiCorp, FERC Docket No. IN11-6 (December 1, 2011)

Reliability Standard: EOP-002-2

Requirement: R1, R2, R5, R6, R7

Issue: On February 14, 2008, a short circuit occurred on a transformer at PacifiCorp’s Huntington generation plant in Utah, which triggered an immediate loss of approximately 2800 MW of generation across PacifiCorp’s East Balancing Authority Area (“PacifiCorp East” – which consists of Utah, southeast Idaho and western Wyoming) and the shedding of approximately 183 MW of firm load in Utah. From 9:15 am to 10:00 am, PacifiCorp had a capacity and energy emergency that it did not properly alleviate, which caused a significant Area Control Error (“ACE”) deficiency and lack of reserves. PacifiCorp also had inappropriately separated its BA responsibilities between its Grid Operations division and its Commercial and Trading division, which led to PacifiCorp’s failure to purchase power for intra-hour delivery in the hour ending at 10:00 am (R1). During this time, PacifiCorp did not shed firm load, as a last resort, to restore its ACE and leaned on the Interconnection by using resources from other BAs to maintain its own operations (R5). PacifiCorp also did not promptly implement the full range of disturbance control remedies, such as requesting emergency assistance from other BAs, declaring an Energy Emergency through its Reliability Coordinator and reducing load through various means (R6). Further, PacifiCorp did not shed load, as a last resort after the fifteen minute disaster recovery period, to restore its ACE to zero (R7). In addition, PacifiCorp’s Commercial and Trading Energy Shortage Process Plan included a provision for PacifiCorp to appeal to CAISO for assistance. But, in responding to this emergency, PacifiCorp did not contact CAISO. The plan also described the curtailment of schedules and retail load, which PacifiCorp did not follow during the emergency (R2).

Finding: On December 1, 2011, FERC approved a Stipulation and Consent Agreement between FERC Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”), NERC and PacifiCorp regarding PacifiCorp’s actions as a BA and TOP surrounding the February 14, 2008 disturbance. In terms of the EOP-002-2 R1 violation, Enforcement and NERC determined that the disturbance threatened PacifiCorp’s BA Area and therefore PacifiCorp should have taken additional actions to alleviate the emergency, such as more promptly shedding firm load. Furthermore, the Grid Operations divisions did not have the ability to purchase energy and the Commercial and Trading division only purchased energy for the hour ending at 11:00 am and did not purchase energy for intra-hour delivery. This separation in BA responsibilities led to miscommunications that had PacifiCorp’s Balancing and Interchange Operator erroneously expecting delivery of energy before 10:00 am. In terms of the EOP-002-2 R5 violation, Enforcement and NERC found that PacifiCorp used the assistance provided by the frequency bias (i.e., it leaned on the Interconnection) for a longer period of time than was needed to implement the available corrective actions. In regards to the EOP-002-2 R6 violation, Enforcement and NERC noted that while PacifiCorp did not pursue all of the required remedies, it did curtail its interruptible load and, after 10:00 am and in cooperation with its Reliability Coordinator, it did issue an Energy Emergency Alert. For the EOP-002-2 R7 violation, PacifiCorp did not promptly shed load after it was unable to restore in ACE in the mandated time period and did not request an Energy Emergency Alert, as was needed, before 10:00 am. In terms of the EOP-002-2 R2 violation, Enforcement and NERC found that PacifiCorp did not properly implement its own emergency plan and therefore did not try to take advantage of potential source of energy to resolve its energy shortage.

Penalty: $3,925,000 (aggregate for 23 violations)

FERC Order: http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/opennat.asp?fileID=12829507

Public Service Company of Colorado, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: EOP-002-2

Requirement: R6

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In September 2007, Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCC) self-reported that its emergency procedure did not meet all the requirements of EOP-002-2.

Finding: WECC found that this violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since PSCC did actually have an emergency procedure in place (even though it did not meet all of the requirements of EOP-002-2). The violation was primarily a documentation issue. Also, the violation was self-reported and was PSCC's first violation of this Reliability Standard. A mitigation plan has been completed.

Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued November 13, 2009 (no further review)