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

NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard IRO-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.

Calpine Energy Services, FERC Docket No. NP10-43-000 (February 1, 2010)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: SERC

Issue: SERC conducted a compliance audit of Calpine Energy Services (CES) between June 9, 2008 and June 12, 2008. IRO-004-1 R4 requires each reliability coordinator to conduct next-day reliability analyses for its reliability coordinator area to ensure the bulk power system can be operated reliably in normal and contingency conditions. During the audit, CES could not demonstrate that it was providing the information needed for system studies to its reliability coordinator. While CES provided evidence that it had been providing the required information after the audit, SERC concluded that CES violated IRO-004-1 since it could not produce the required evidence at the time of its audit.

Finding: SERC found that CES's alleged violations of the different Reliability Standards did not pose a substantial or serious risk to the reliability of the bulk system since CES was performing the required notifications even if it could not produce evidence of its compliance. In recommending a $20,000 aggregate penalty for multiple violations, SERC considered the following factors: (i) CES had no prior violations of any Reliability Standards; (ii) CES was cooperative during the investigation; (iii) CES agreed to settle the issues; (iv) CES has implemented a wide-range of mitigation measures; and (v) CES had no intent to violate the standards.

Total Penalty: $20,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

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

Calpine Corporation, FERC Docket No. NP10-44-000 (February 1, 2010)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: SERC

Issue: SERC conducted a compliance audit of Calpine Corporation between June 9, 2008 and June 12, 2008. SERC alleged that Calpine violated IRO-004-1 R4 since it could not demonstrate that it was providing its reliability coordinator with information required for system studies.

Finding: In proposing an aggregate penalty of $140,000 for multiple violations, SERC took into consideration the following factors: (i) Calpine self-reported non-compliance with PRC-005-1 R.1 and R.2, and mitigated its non-compliance; (ii) the non-compliance was incurred and reported by Calpine prior to reliability standard PRC-005-1 R.1 and R.2 becoming mandatory, and because Calpine had not had any violations of the Reliability Standards since they became mandatory; (iii) Calpine was eventually able to provide the information required in the format required by SERC; (iv) Calpine agreed to the settlement; (v) Calpine implemented a wide-range of mitigation measures to prevent against future violations; and (vi) Calpine had no intent to commit or conceal the violations. NERC approved the penalty for these reasons, and further found that Calpine's violations did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system for these reasons.

Total Penalty: $140,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

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

Cedar Bay Generating Company, FERC Docket No. NP10-14-000 (November 13, 2009)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: FRCC

Issue: Cedar Bay Generating Co. (CBG) self-reported that, on July 8, 2007, it failed to submit a forecast for Load generation to its Reliability Coordinator by 1200 Central Standard Time as required by IRO-004-1.

Finding: In recommending a penalty of $0, FRCC took into consideration the following factors: (i) CBG failed to provide the information for only one day; (ii) CBG is a small generator owner of only 250 MW; (iii) the Reliability Coordinator could have relied on an estimated forecast for generation for CBG for the day in question based on historical data; (iv) CBG had not previously violated this requirement; and (v) the impact on the reliability of the bulk power system was not serious or substantial. NERC approved FRCC's determination for these reasons and because CBG immediately put into place procedures to prevent future violations.

Total Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued December 11, 2009 (No further review)

The Dow Chemical Company, FERC Docket No. NP08-34-000 (June 5, 2008)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: SERC

Issue: Dow self-reported that it had not been reporting its forecasted generation to the grid to its Transmission Operations Provider and thus the information was not provided to the Reliability Coordinator.

Finding: No penalty assessed because the violation occurred during the transition period to mandatory compliance and did not put the bulk power system reliability at serious or substantial risk.

Total Penalty: $0

FERC Order: 124 FERC ¶ 61,015 (2008), http://www.nerc.com/files/NoticeOfPenaltyOrder.pdf

Dynegy Inc., FERC Docket No. NP11-241-000 (July 28, 2011)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Moderate

Region: NPCC

Issue: In December 2009, Dynegy Inc., as a Generator Owner and Generator Operator, self-reported that on November 6, 2009 it had not submitted day-ahead bids for its Sithe Independence plant to the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (NYISO), which were needed to help NYISO determine unit availability, upper and lower operating limits, and price curves for November 7, 2009.

Finding: NPCC and Dynegy entered into a settlement agreement to resolve multiple violations, whereby Dynegy agreed to pay a penalty of $50,000 and to undertake other mitigation measures. NPCC found that the IRO-004-1 violation did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to bulk power system reliability since the day-ahead bid that Dynegy failed to submit was for a weekend period (which generally has lower demand) and NYISO met its day-ahead requirement with other available generation. The IRO-004-1 violation occurred on November 6, 2009. In approving the settlement agreement, NERC found that these were Dynegy’s first violations of the Reliability Standards in the NPCC region; some of the violations were self-reported; Dynegy was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations; Dynegy had a compliance program in place (which was evaluated as a mitigating factor); and there were no additional aggravating or mitigating factors.

Penalty: $50,000 (aggregate for 8 violations)

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

ExxonMobil Oil Corporation – Beaumont Refinery, FERC Docket No. NP10-90-000 (March 31, 2010)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not Discussed

Region: SERC

Issue: ExxonMobil Oil Corporation – Beaumont Refinery (ExxonMobil) failed to report information required for system studies on a daily basis.

Finding: The alleged violation occurred from December 27, 2008, the first day for which ExxonMobil failed to provide information about the unit's availability, until January 22, 2009, the date on which ExxonMobil provided the forecast information. SERC and ExxonMobil entered a settlement agreement regarding the alleged violation and agreed to a $10,000 penalty (aggregate with violations of TOP-002-2 and PRC-005-1). In assessing the penalty, SERC considered: (1) the alleged violation was self-reported; (2) ExxonMobil had no previous violations of the NERC Reliability Standards; (3) ExxonMobil cooperated during the compliance enforcement process; (4) no attempt to conceal a violation or evidence of intent to do so was found; (5) ExxonMobil maintained an effective compliance program and culture; and (6) the alleged violation did not create a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system.

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

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

Grays Harbor County PUD, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In June 2007, Grays Harbor County PUD (Grays Harbor) self-reported that it could not demonstrate that it was providing the information necessary for system studies (i.e., critical facility status, load, generation, operating reserve projects, and known interchange transactions). Grays Harbor had actually delegated the task of providing this information to another entity, but did not possess a formal delegation agreement. If the delegated entity did not perform the necessary information sharing, Grays Harbor was able to provide the information directly.

Finding: WECC found that the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because of the nature and location of Grays Harbor’s assets and the fact that another entity was providing the relevant information. The violation was self-reported and this was Grays Harbor’s first violation of this Reliability Standard. Even though Grays Harbor completed its mitigation plan over 3 1/2 months late, no penalty was imposed.

Penalty: $0

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

National Nuclear Security Administration – Los Alamos National Laboratory, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In April 2008, National Nuclear Security Administration – Los Alamos National Laboratory (NNSAL) self-reported that it did not possess a formal policy to have the required information available by 12:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Finding: WECC found that the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since NNSAL did actually possess the information (even though it had not memorialized a formal reporting policy). In addition, the violation was primarily a documentation issue. The violation was self-reported and this was NNSAL’s first violation of this Reliability Standard. A mitigation plan has been completed.

Penalty: $0

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

North Carolina Power Holdings, Inc. – Elizabethtown Power, LLC, FERC Docket No. NP08-28-000 (June 5, 2008)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: SERC

Issue: Issue: SERC found that Elizabethtown Power, LLC (Elizabethtown) provided information required for system studies, such as its units status and dispatch schedule information, at 1600 hour, rather than at 1200 hours.

Finding: SERC declined to assess a penalty for the violation because the violation (i) occurred during the transition period to mandatory standards and (ii) would not put the bulk power system reliability at a serious or substantial risk. In affirming SERC's conclusions, NERC also noted that Elizabethtown did in fact provide the information required, that the violation was the first incidence of violation by Elizabethtown and that Elizabethtown acted immediately to mitigate and/or correct the violation.

Total Penalty: $0

FERC Order: 124 FERC ¶ 61,015, http://www.nerc.com/files/NoticeOfPenaltyOrder.pdf

North Carolina Power Holdings, Inc. – Lumberton Power, LLC, FERC Docket No. NP08-31-000 (June 5, 2008)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: SERC

Issue: SERC found that Lumberton Power, LLC (Lumberton) was providing information required for system studies, including its unit status and dispatch schedule, at 1600 hours, rather than at 1200 hours.

Finding: SERC declined to assess a penalty for the violation because the violation (i) occurred during the transition period to mandatory standards and (ii) would not put the bulk power system reliability at a serious or substantial risk. In affirming SERC's conclusions, NERC also noted that the violation was the first incidence of violation by Lumberton and that Lumberton acted immediately to mitigate and/or correct the violation.

Total Penalty: $0

FERC Order: 124 FERC ¶ 61,015, http://www.nerc.com/files/NoticeOfPenaltyOrder.pdf

Raft River Rural Electric Coop/PNGC, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In April 2008, Raft River Rural Electric Coop/PNGC (RRRE) self-certified that it could not provide the necessary documentation showing that it provided the required information for the system studies (i.e., critical facility status, load, generation, operating reserve projections, and known interchange transactions) by 12:00 pm Pacific Standard Time as required. RRRE stated that its Host Balancing Authority had the relevant documentation.

Finding: WECC found that the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since the relevant information could have been provided by the Host Balancing Authority. This was primarily a documentation issue and this was RRRE’s first violation of this Reliability Standard. A mitigation plan has been completed.

Penalty: $0

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

Sacramento Municipal Utility District, FERC Docket NP10-106-000 (May 3, 2010)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) self-reported that it had not provided required data requested by the WECC Vancouver Reliability Coordination Office by 1200 PST, but had provided it 43 minutes past due. The cause of noncompliance was employees' failure to follow SMUD's existing procedures requiring submission of the data by 1200 PST.

Finding: Duration of violation was from January 5, 2009 through January 7, 2009 when SMUD completed a mitigation plan. The violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because SMUD provided the information on the day required, merely 43 minutes late. In addition, this was SMUD's first violation of this standard.

Penalty: $9,900 (aggregate for multiple violations)

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

Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Docket No. NP12-27 (May 30, 2012)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Lower

Region: WECC

Issue: In November 2010, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), as a BA, self-reported that it had not timely provided its RC with the data needed for the RC’s day-ahead studies. SMUD, as a result of an employee not following procedures, was three minutes late in submitting the required data.

Finding: WECC found that the violation constituted a minimal risk to BPS reliability since the three minute delay did not have a demonstrable impact on RC since RC was able to run the studies without further delay. The violation occurred on November 16, 2010. WECC evaluated SMUD’s compliance program as a mitigating factor. SMUD also had a prior violation of IRO-004-1, which WECC viewed as an aggravating factor.

Penalty: $500

FERC Order: Order issued June 29, 2012 (no further review)

SUEZ Energy Generation NA Inc., FERC Docket No. NP09-4-000 (January 7, 2009)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: TRE

Issue: SUEZ Energy Generation self-certified that as of September 28, 2007, it did not have a written procedure to provide required information for system studies, such as critical facility status, Load, generation, operating reserve projections, and known Interchange Transactions.

Finding: Penalty was determined appropriate because the violation was a documentation issue and deemed not to put the bulk power system reliability at serious or substantial risk.

Total Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued February 5, 2009 (no further review)

Suez Energy Marketing, FERC Docket No. NP08-12-000 (June 4, 2008)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: TRE

Issue: Suez Energy Marketing self-reported that, while it had the information necessary for system studies, it did not have in place the required written procedures for doing so.

Finding: No penalty assessed because the violation occurred prior to the standard becoming mandatory, and the violation was deemed not to put bulk power system reliability at serious or substantial risk. It was also noted that these violations constituted Suez Energy Marketing's first.

Total Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued July 3, 2008 (no further review)

WECC RC [Pacific Northwest Security Coordinator] 2010

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: NERC as Compliance Enforcement Authority (NCEA)

Issue: During the period from June 18, 2007 through January 1, 2009, the Pacific Northwest Security Coordinator (PNSC) could not provide evidence that it was conducting voltage and stability analysis in next day studies as required by the Standard.

Finding: The violation was the first violation of this Reliability Standard and it did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system. WECC was certified as the Reliability Coordinator on January 1, 2009 and assumed all further responsibilities. The violation was mitigated through the dissolution of the entity and NERC's certification of WECC as the new Reliability Coordinator for the region.

Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued October 13, 2010 (no further review)

Wise County Power Company, FERC Docket No. NP09-5-000 (January 7, 2009)

Reliability Standard: IRO-004-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: TRE

Issue: Wise County Power self-certified that as of September 28, 2007, it did not have a written procedure to provide required information for system studies, such as critical facility status, load, generation, operating reserve projections, and known interchange transactions.

Finding: Penalty was determined appropriate because the violation was a documentation issue and deemed not to put the bulk power system reliability at serious or substantial risk.

Total Penalty: $0

FERC Order: Issued February 5, 2009 (no further review)