NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard FAC-014-1 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard FAC-014-1

NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard FAC-014-1

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Florida Municipal Power Agency, Inc., FERC Docket No. NP11-24-000 (November 30, 2010)

Reliability Standard: FAC-014-1

Requirement: R3, R5.3, R6.2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (for R1, R5.3, and R6.2)

Violation Severity Level: Severe (for R1, R5.3, and R6.2)

Region: FRCC

Issue: In December 2008, Florida Municipal Power Agency, Inc. (FMPA) self-reported that, in its documented methodology for calculating its System Operating Limits (SOLs), it had not: (a) established SOLs for its Planning Authority Area (such as Interconnection Reliability Operating Limits) consistent with its SOL methodology; (b) provided its SOLs to its adjacent Planning Authorities or to the Transmission Planners, Transmission Service Providers, Transmission Operators and Reliability Coordinators within its Planning Authority Area; or (c) notified its Reliability Coordinator that it had not found any stability related multiple contingencies.

Finding: FRCC and FMPA entered into a settlement agreement to resolve all outstanding issues, whereby FMPA agreed to pay a penalty of $13,600 and to undertake other mitigation measures to resolve multiple violations. FRCC found that the violations of FAC-014-1 did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to bulk power system reliability since FMPA's SOL methodology was largely based on its Facility Ratings and FMPA's Facility Ratings had been provided regularly to Transmission Operators, Balancing Authorities, and the Reliability Coordinator, as well as other entities in Florida. FMPA had also conducted several voltage stability studies and reviewed other voltage stability studies performed by other utilities. By completing the mitigation plan, FMPA confirmed that that the system was being planned operated according to the appropriate SOLs. The duration of the FAC-014-1 violations was from January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009. In approving the settlement agreement, FRCC considered the fact that these were FMPA’s first violations of the relevant Reliability Standards; the violations of FAC-014-1 were self-reported; FMPA was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not attempt to conceal the violations; and there were no additional mitigating or aggravating factors.

Penalty: $13,600 (aggregate for multiple violations)

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

Florida Reliability Coordinating Council, FERC Docket No. NP15-2-000 (October 30, 2014)

Reliability Standard: FAC-014-1

Requirement: R1, R5

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (R1), High (R5)

Violation Severity Level: Severe (R1, R5)

Region: SERC

Issue: On July 29, 2012, a tree fell on the 230 kV Hopkins-Crawfordville line, which caused the line to relay and lock out. The line was not restored until approximately four hours later. In connection with this incident, the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council (FRCC), as the RC, self-reported that it did not verify that its System Operating Limits (SOLs) or Interconnection Reliability Operating Limits (IROLs) were consistent with its SOL methodology (R1). FRCC also self-reported that it did not include in its SOL methodology the value of all of the IROLs and the associated maximum amount of time before the IROL violation would pose an unacceptable risk to the interconnection or other RC Area and the types of limitations represented by the IROLs.

Finding: SERC determined that the FAC-014-1 violations constituted only a minimal risk to the BPS reliability as FRCC did have a list of SOLs and IROLs and, via the inter-control center communications protocol (ICCP), obtains the continuous facility rating from all TOPs within the RC Area. In addition, based on ICCP real-time indicators (such as MW, MVAR and kV), FRCC monitors SOL and IROL values and uses the values in real-time assessments (performed approximately every 5 minutes) to maintain reliable system performance. FRCC’s SOL methodology also calls for TOPs and/or PAs to provide a list of SOLs and IROLs that are not part of the Facility Rating, and the FRCC Operating Reliability Subcommittee reviews and utilizes those SOLs and IROLs for future operating plans. The duration of the FAC-014-1violations was from January 1, 2009 through March 28, 2014. FRCC neither admitted nor denied the violations. In approving the settlement agreement, the NERC BOTCC found that two of the violations posed a serious or substantial risk to BPS reliability. However, these were FRCC’s first violations of the Reliability Standards at issue and the violations were self-reported. FRCC took additional actions to mitigate the risk and it had an internal compliance program in place, which SERC considered as mitigating factors. FRCC also cooperated throughout the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations.

Penalty: $100,000 (aggregate for 6 violations)

FERC Order: Issued November 28, 2014 (no further review)

Texas-New Mexico Power Co., Docket No. NP13-33 (April 30, 2013)

Reliability Standard: FAC-014-1

Requirement: 4

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Lower

Region: TRE

Issue: In August 2010, Texas-New Mexico Power Co. (TNMP), as a TP, self-certified that it had not performed a simulated stability analysis (which reviews the transient, dynamic, and voltage stability studies) for its System Operating Limits (SOLs) as required by ERCOT’s procedures.

Finding: TRE found that this violation constituted a moderate risk to BPS reliability since operating with SOLs that have not been validated by a stability assessment increases the risk of cascading outages or uncontrolled separation. But, TNMP did have established SOLs and the problem was discovered and promptly addressed through TNMP’s internal controls. The duration of the violation was from January 1, 2009 through April 4, 2011. TNMP neither admitted nor denied the violation. TNMP’s internal compliance program was viewed as a mitigating factor, as well as the fact that TNMP engaged in measures above and beyond what was strictly required (such as adding a third transmission planner and additional engineers and increasing training).

Total Penalty: $7,000 (aggregate for 4 violations)

FERC Order: Issued May 30, 2013 (no further review)

Unidentified Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP11-124-000 (February 23, 2011)

Reliability Standard: FAC-014-1

Requirement: R2, R4

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: High

Region: RFC

Issue: RFC found that the Unidentified Registered Entity (URE) failed to establish System Operating Limits (SOLs) as directed by its Reliability Coordinator for the URE's portion of the Reliability Coordinator Area that were consistent with the Reliability Coordinator's SOL Methodology. RFC also found that the URE failed to establish SOLs, including Interconnection Reliability Operating Limits, for its Transmission Planning Area that were consistent with the Reliability Coordinator's SOL Methodology.

Finding: The NERC Board of Trustees Compliance Committee (NERC BOTCC) approved a settlement agreement which included a penalty in the amount of $100,000 for these and other violations. In reaching this determination, the NERC BOTCC considered the following facts, among others: the violations constituted the URE's first violations of the subject NERC Reliability Standard; the URE self-reported 11 of the 16 violations; the URE cooperated during the compliance enforcement process; the URE's compliance program; the URE did not attempt to conceal a violation or intend to do so; the violations 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: $100,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

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

Unidentified Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP11-137-000 (March 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: FAC-014-1

Requirement: R2, R4 and R5

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (R2 and R4); High (R5)

Violation Severity Level: N/A

Region: WECC

Issue: URE self-reported that because its Facilities Ratings Methodology did not contain all of the elements required by FAC-009-1, URE could not establish System Operating Limits (“SOLs”) as required by FAC-014-1 R2 and R4, and could not communicate its SOLs to appropriate parties in violation of R5. Duration of violation was January 1, 2009, when the Standard became enforceable, through October 28, 2009, when the violations were mitigated.

Finding: WECC Enforcement determined that the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because URE had created interim SOLs that had been used in transmission operating and planning until the final SOLs were set. Further, the NERC BOTCC concluded the penalty appropriate because this was URE’s first violation of most of the Standards involved, URE self-reported 28 of 30 violations, and URE was cooperative during the investigation.

Penalty: $106,000 (aggregate for 30 violations)

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