NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard EOP-004-1 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard EOP-004-1

NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard EOP-004-1

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This page contains the NOP (Notice of Penalty) and ACP (Administrative Citation of Penalty) summaries. Click here to read the FFT (Find, Fix and Track) summaries.

Allegheny Power, FERC Docket No. NP10-85-000 (March 31, 2010)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: RFC

Issue: Allegheny Power did not supply a written report to RFC and NERC for a reportable incident within 24 hours of the disturbance or within 24 hours after it was discovered by Allegheny Power.

Finding: The violation duration was February 15, 2008, when Allegheny Power recognized that violation, through December 11, 2008, when it completed a mitigation plan. Through a settlement agreement, Allegheny Power received a $5,000 aggregate penalty for multiple violations. In assessing the penalty, RFC considered that the violation constituted Allegheny Power’s first violation of NERC Reliability Standards, Allegheny Power was cooperative throughout the enforcement process, and Allegheny Power’s compliance program promoted a culture of compliance throughout the company. RFC further determined that the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because it was determined to be a reporting issue.

Penalty: $5,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

FERC Order: Issued April 30, 2010 (no further review)

City of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Clarksdale Public Utilities Commission, FERC Docket No. NP11-62-000 (December 22, 2010)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3 (R3.1)

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: SPP

Issue: The City of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Clarksdale Public Utilities Commission (Clarksdale), as a Generator Operator and Load Serving Entity, failed to submit a NERC Disturbance report within 24 hours of a reportable disturbance.

Finding: The NERC Board of Trustees Compliance Committee (NERC BOTCC) approved a $5,000 penalty for this and other Reliability Standards violations. In assessing the penalty, the NERC BOTCC considered the following facts: this was Clarksdale’s first violation of the subject NERC Reliability Standard; the violation was self-reported; Clarksdale cooperated during the compliance enforcement process; Clarksdale did not attempt to conceal the violation or intend to do so; the violation did not create a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system; and there were no other mitigating or aggravating factors or extenuating circumstances.

Penalty: $5,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

FERC Order: Issued January 21, 2011 (no further review)

City of Ruston, LA, FERC Docket No. NP10-187-000 (September 30, 2010)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Moderate

Region: SERC

Issue: Ruston self-reported that it dropped 28 MW of load affecting 11,000 customers on a single day due to a lost radial 115 kV line. Ruston stated that it had failed to submit a written preliminary report within 24 hours of this system event, submitting it instead at 30 hours and 25 minutes after the event. Moreover, an OE-417 Report was not timely submitted to the Regional Entity, NERC and the DOE, although one was eventually submitted.

Finding: It was determined by SERC that the violation did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because the load loss was limited to a single radial line, restoration efforts were immediately undertaken, the outage was for less than 5 hours, Ruston had quickly reported its loss of load to its Transmission Operator, and eventually submitted the reports required by the standard. Additional consideration in the no-penalty determination was that Ruston had self-reported the violation.

Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued October 29, 2010 (no further review)

Clatskanie People's Utility District, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: No Serious or Substantial Risk to Bulk Power System Reliability

Region: WECC

Issue: It was discovered in May 2008 that Clatskanie People's Utility District had not established disturbance-reporting procedures and had not been providing written reports of its disturbances to its Regional Entity and NERC. Instead, CPUD was having its Balancing Authority (which owned, operated, and maintained the transmission line) provide the disturbance reports.

Finding: WECC found that this violation did not involve a serious or substantial risk to bulk power system reliability due to the nature of CPUD's facilities. Also, the Balancing Authority was still producing the disturbance reports for CPUD (even though this was not properly documented by CPUD). This was the CPUD's first violation of this Reliability Standard and a Mitigation Plan was completed.

Penalty: $0

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

Clatskanie People's Utility District, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: No Serious or Substantial Risk to Bulk Power System Reliability

Region: WECC

Issue: It was discovered in May 2008 that Clatskanie People's Utility District ("CPUD") had two transmission line outages which should have been reported by CPUD as disturbances.

Finding: WECC found that this violation did not involve a serious or substantial risk to bulk power system reliability since CPUD's Balancing Authority (which owned, operated, and maintained the transmission line) had actually reported the outages. This was CPUD's first violation of this Reliability Standard, and a Mitigation Plan was completed.

Penalty: $0

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

Consumers Energy Company, FERC Docket No. NP11-112-000 (February 23, 2011)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3/3.1

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: RFC

Issue: In October 2009, Consumers Energy Company (Consumers), as a Balancing Authority and Load Serving Entity, self-reported that it had not sent a copy of the OE-417 report to NERC and RFC within 24 hours of becoming aware of a reportable incident having occurred, as required. The relevant incident involved a storm event from August 9, 2009 through August 12, 2009 when approximately 58,000 customers were interrupted for several hours.

Finding: RFC and Consumers entered into a settlement agreement to resolve multiple violations, whereby Consumers agreed to pay a penalty of $25,000 and to undertake other mitigation measures to resolve the multiple violations. In terms of the EOP-004-1 violation, RFC found that the violation only constituted a minimal risk to bulk power system reliability since Consumers did submit the OE-417 report on a timely basis to the Department of Energy. Consumers did not submit the report to NERC and RFC due to key personnel being unavailable and the backup personnel not knowing all of the reporting mandates. The duration of the EOP-004-1 violation was from August 15, 2009 through October 21, 2009. In approving the settlement agreement, NERC recognized that this was Consumers' second violation of PRC-005-1 (which was evaluated as an aggravating factor); Consumers self-reported all violations; Consumers was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations; Consumers had a compliance program in place when the violations occurred (which was evaluated as a mitigating factor); and there were no additional mitigating or aggravating factors.

Penalty: $25,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

FERC Order: Issued March 25, 2011 (no further review)

Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association, Inc., FERC Docket No. NP10-94-000 (April 28, 2010)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3.1

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: FRCC

Issue: Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. (FKEC) did not send a copy of a DOE report to FRCC and NERC within 24 hours of an incident.

Finding: The alleged violation occurred from January 9, 2009, the date the required report was due, until January 19, 2009, when FKEC submitted the required report. FRCC assessed a penalty of $1,500 for the alleged violation. In assessing the penalty, FRCC considered that the alleged violation was self-reported; it was FKEC's first alleged violation of EOP-004-1; FKEC cooperated during the compliance enforcement process; FKEC did not attempt to conceal a violation or intend to do so; and the alleged violation did not create a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system.

Penalty: $1,500

FERC Order: Issued May 28, 2010 (no further review)

Lubbock Power and Light, Docket No. NP11-270 (September 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: SPP

Issue: Lubbock Power and Light (Lubbock) submitted a self-report stating that it used an outdated form to report a reportable incident and consequently notified the wrong party at its RRO. SPP later confirmed during a compliance audit that a subsequent alert report was submitted on the correct form four days later.

Finding: SPP determined that the violations posed a minimal risk, but did not pose a serious or substantial risk, to the reliability of the BPS because Lubbock did provide timely notification of the event to DOE and NERC, and fulfilled all of its reporting requirements within four days of submitting the incorrect form. Moreover, Lubbock’s protection systems operated properly and isolated the disturbance from the BPS. The violation lasted from Aug. 16, 2008 to Aug. 20, 2008.

Penalty: $14,000 (aggregate for 8 violations)

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

Merced Irrigation District, FERC Docket No. NP11-216-000 (June 29, 2011)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3.1

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: WECC

Issue: In February 2010, Merced Irrigation District (MEID), as a Generator Operator and Load Serving Entity, self-reported that it had not notified its Regional Reliability Organization, WECC, of a system disturbance within 24 hours of recognizing the disturbance as required.

Finding: WECC and MEID entered into a settlement agreement to resolve the violation, whereby MEID agreed to pay a penalty of $6,000 and to undertake other mitigation measures. WECC found that the violation only constituted a minimal risk to bulk power system reliability since MEID had properly analyzed the disruption and fixed the root cause. MEID’s Balancing Authority also knew about the disruption and shared information with MEID about the loss of load. The duration of the violation was from May 8, 2008 through February 24, 2010. In approving the settlement agreement, NERC found that this was MEID’s first violation of this Reliability Standard; MEID was cooperative during the enforcement proceeding and did not conceal the violation; and there were no additional aggravating or mitigating factors.

Penalty: $6,000

FERC Order: Issued July 29, 2011 (no further review)

PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, Docket No. NP10-71-000 (March 31, 2010)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R3.1

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: No Serious or Substantial Risk to the Bulk Power System

Region: RFC

Issue: In January 2009, after being notified of an upcoming audit, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation (PPL EU) self-reported a potential violation of Reliability Standard EOP-004-1 R3.1 since it failed to timely report to the U.S. Department of Energy, NERC, and the ReliabilityFirst Corporation two weather-related outages that resulted in the loss of service to more than 50,000 customers for one hour or more. PPL EU had reported the two weather-related outages to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, as required by state law.

Finding: ReliabilityFirst Corporation and PPL EU entered into a settlement agreement to resolve all outstanding issues related to numerous alleged violations, whereby PPL EU neither admitted nor denied the alleged violations but agreed to pay a penalty of $290,000 and undertake other mitigation measures. The bulk of the penalty is the result of alleged violations of Reliability Standard FAC-003-1. ReliabilityFirst Corporation found that the alleged violation of Reliability Standard EOP-004-1 did not cause a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since the storm damage in both incidences was limited to PPL EU's 12 kV and 69 kV distribution facilities. PPL EU has successfully completed the mitigation plan for the alleged violation of Reliability Standard EOP-004-1 R3.1.

Penalty: $290,000 (aggregate amount for multiple violations)

FERC Order: Issued April 30, 2010 (no further review)

Sunflower Electric Power Corporation (Sunflower), Docket No. NP13-5-000 (October 31, 2012)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: 3/3.1

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: SPP

Issue: Sunflower, in its role as a BA, self-reported a violation of R3 because after an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 (EEA3), it did not file form OE 417-Schedule 1 with its Regional Reliability Organization (RRO) and NERC within 60 minutes of the disruption that triggered Sunflower's public appeal to reduce load. It further failed to file form OE 417-Schedules 1 and 2 within 48 hours of the event.

Finding: SPP determined that the R3 violation posed a minimal risk to the reliability of the BPS because the BA was constantly in contact with SPP during the EEA3. Sunflower also met with SPP following the event to provide an update on the current situation and to inform SPP of the steps the BA took in response to the event. Sunflower further filed the required reports after self-reporting the violation. SPP and Sunflower entered into a settlement agreement to resolve multiple violations, whereby Sunflower agreed to pay a penalty and to undertake other mitigation measures to come into compliance with R3. SPP considered both Sunflower's formal internal compliance program and its efforts to improve and audit its internal compliance with NERC Reliability Standards to be mitigating factor in arriving at the penalty determination. SPP also found that Sunflower's compliance history was not an aggravating factor. The duration of the violation was from February 2, 2011 through April 14, 2011. Sunflower neither admits nor denies the R3 violation.

Penalty: $10,000 (aggregate for 3 violations)

FERC Order: Issued November 29, 2012 (no further review)

USACE – Little Rock District, FERC Docket No. NP11-19-000 (November 5, 2010)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: SPP

Issue: In March 2008, USACE – Little Rock (USACE-LR) self-certified that it did not have a formal policy regarding analyzing the bulk power system disturbances that originated on its systems or facilities. USACE-LR coordinates the operation of its generating facilities with the Southwest Power Administration (SWPA), and SWPA is notified when the USACE-LR generating facilities are affected.

Finding: SPP found that this violation did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since USACE-LR was actually analyzing disturbances that occurred at its power generating facilities (as USACE-LR would assist, upon SWPA’s request, SWPA in analyzing transmission system disturbances). The duration of the violation was from July 10, 2007 through October 13, 2009. In deciding not to impose a penalty for multiple violations, SPP considered the fact that the violation represented USACE-LR’s first violation of the relevant Reliability Standards; the violation was caused by USACE-LR not having formal procedures and policies in place; and USACE-LR did not attempt to conceal the violation. In addition, the violation was self-certified.

Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued December 3, 2010 (no further review)

USACE-Portland District, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R2, R3

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (R2); Lower (R3)

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In June 2008, USACE-Portland District (USACE-PD) self-certified that it was not promptly analyzing bulk electric system disturbances on its system or facilities. In addition, USACE-PD self-certified that it had only been reporting its disturbance information to its Balancing Authority – and not directly to WECC as required.

Finding: WECC found that the violations did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since the Balancing Authority had been analyzing USACE-PD’s disturbances. In addition, USACE-PD had actually been reporting its disturbance information to its Balancing Authority. The violations were TransAlta’s first violations of this Reliability Standard. Even though USACE-PD completed its mitigation plan 1.5 months late, no penalty was imposed.

Penalty: $0

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

USACE – Tulsa District, FERC Docket No. NP10-160-000 (September 13, 2010)

Reliability Standard: EOP-004-1

Requirement: R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: SPP

Issue: As required by EOP-004-1, R2 requires an entity to promptly analyze Bulk Electric System disturbances on system facilities. On December 31, 2007, USACE-Tulsa self certified that it was not compliant with the requirement as it did not have written procedures in place to ensure and document that it analyzed system disturbances.

Finding: USACE-Tulsa was performing analysis of disturbances on its system, but was not formally documenting the process. As such, SPP determined that the violation did not create a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system. The duration of the violation was July 10, 2007 through August 28, 2009. Additional factors for the determination of no penalty amount included that that the violation was a documentation issue and was the first violation of this Reliability Standard by USACE-Tulsa.

Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued December 16, 2010, 133 FERC ¶ 61,214 (2010), reh'g denied 137, FERC ¶ 61,044 (2010)