NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard PER-001-0 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard PER-001-0

NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard PER-001-0

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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.

Arlington Valley, LLC - AVBA, FERC Docket No. NP13-9 (December 31, 2012)

Reliability Standard: PER-001-0

Requirement: 1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: High

Region: WECC

Issue: AVBA self-reported, as a TOP, that it had not provided its operating personnel with the required written authorization to implement real-time actions necessary for stable and reliable operations. AVBA had provided its operating personnel with verbal authorization.

Finding: WECC found that the PER-001-0 violation only constituted a minimal risk to BPS reliability since AVBA's operating personnel had received verbal authorization to implement the necessary real-time actions. The duration of the PER-001-0 violation was from November 5, 2007 through May 6, 2009. AVBA stipulated to the violations. In approving the settlement agreement, the NERC BOTCC considered the fact that these violations were AVBA's first violations of the relevant Reliability Standards; the violations were not intentional and were promptly mitigated once discovered; and AVBA was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations. In addition, all but one of AVBA's violations did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to BPS reliability.

Penalty: $60,000 (aggregate for 43 violations)

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

Mesquite Power LLC, FERC Docket No. NP12-35 (June 29, 2012)

Reliability Standard: PER-001-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: High

Region: WECC

Issue: In March 2009, Mesquite Power LLC (Mesquite), as a TOP, self-certified that its documentation did not grant its operators the necessary responsibility and authority to implement real-time actions for Mesquite’s generation tie line and associated facilities.

Finding: WECC found that the PER-001-0 violation only constituted a minimal risk to BPS reliability since, in practice, Mesquite’s operators did have the required authority, pursuant to its integrated contingency plans, to take needed actions to protect the reliability of Mesquite’s generation and transmission facilities. Mesquite had trained its operators to exercise this authority. Therefore, the violation was primarily a documentation issue. The duration of the PER-001-0 violation was from November 5, 2007 through March 31, 2009. In approving the settlement agreement, the NERC BOTCC considered the fact that these were Mesquite’s first violations of the relevant Reliability Standard; one of the violations (VAR-002-1 R3) was self-reported; Mesquite was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations; Mesquite did have a compliance program in place (which was evaluated as a mitigating factor); there were two violations of the same Reliability Standard (PER-003-0 R1) that demonstrated the repeat nature of the violation (which was evaluated as an aggravating factor); the violations did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to BPS reliability; and there were no additional aggravating or mitigating factors.

Penalty: $60,000 (aggregate for 26 violations)

FERC Order: Order issued July 27, 2012 (no further review)

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

Reliability Standard: PER-001-0

Requirement: R1

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. During the emergency, PacifiCorp’s Managing Director ordered an operator to “hold off” on firm load shedding in the 10:00 am hour (so he could inform the customer service organization and executive management), which led to a delay in PacifiCorp’s load shedding.

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 PER-001-0 R1 violation, PacifiCorp’s operator should have had the independent authority to shed firm load in order to ensure the stable and reliable operation of the bulk power system. Enforcement and NERC found that PacifiCorp’s Managing Director should not have been involved in the load shedding, either in the timing or the implementation, since he had not been actively monitoring the system nor was he NERC-certified. The Managing Director’s order to “hold off” caused an unwarranted delay in the firm load shedding.

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

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

Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County, FERC Docket No. NP12-5 (November 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: PER-001-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: WECC

Issue: In preparation for its registration with NERC as a TOP, in April 2009 CKPD self-reported non-compliance with PER-001-0 R1. CKPD explained that its TOP, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), informed it on April 6, 2009, that it would no longer function as CKPD’s TOP effective immediately. As a result, CKPD was required to register as a TOP and report non-compliance with the Standard. CKPD reported that the requirements of PER-001-0 were new to CKPD because of its TOP registration, and at the time of registration, CKPD had not delegated authority to operators to perform real-time actions in order to maintain stable and reliable BPS operations.

Finding: WECC determined the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the reliability of the BPS because BPA would have assisted to maintain BPS operations, and CKPD’s facilities are not critical to BPS reliability. CKPD quickly corrected the issue after it was able to renegotiate union contract job descriptions to include NERC responsibilities. In addition, at the time of its registration for the TOP function, CKPD was satisfying the requirements for its other functions as a TO, PSE, LSE, DP, GO and GOP. BPA performed tests on CKPD’s electric system during April 2009 which showed that it was not conducting TOP duties at the facility and the facility was not required to maintain system reliability. BPA also reported that CPKD employs experienced operators and also has internal maintenance procedures including a 24-hour dispatch center. WECC assessed no penalty for the violation based on the extenuating circumstances surrounding the non-compliance. In particular, BPA’s notice to CKPD that it would no longer operate as the TOP was unexpected and effective immediately. Consequently, CKPD was immediately responsible for registration and compliance with all applicable TOP standards. WECC also considered the following mitigating factors: the violations were self-reported, mitigation plans were quickly submitted and timely completed; the risk to the BPS was not serious or substantial; the violations were not repeat violations; and CKPD did not dispute the violations.

Penalty: $0 (for 33 violations)

FERC Order: Issued December 30, 2011 (no further review)

TransAlta Centralia Generation LLC, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: PER-001-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In June 2008, TransAlta Centralia Generation LLC (TransAlta) self-reported that, because it did not have NERC-certified operating personnel, it did not possess a training program which met the requirements of PER-001-0.

Finding: WECC found that the violations did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because, under an April 2000 agreement between TransAlta and its Balancing Authority, there were relevant procedures in place (even though those procedures did not meet the requirements of PER-001-0). TransAlta would implement the directions of the Balancing Authority dispatchers, as generation and transmission operations were coordinated between TransAlta and its Balancing Authority. In addition, TransAlta and its Balancing Authority had well-established communications protocols and, in emergency situations, TransAlta agreed to respond to all of the Balancing Authority’s instructions. The violation was self-reported and was TransAlta’s first violation of this Reliability Standard. A mitigation plan has been completed.

Penalty: $0

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

Unidentified Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP12-11 (January 31, 2011)

Reliability Standard: PER-001-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: High

Violation Severity Level: High

Region: WECC

Issue: URE self-reported (as well as self-certified) that the job description for its real time energy traders did not include a statement that real time energy traders have the authority and responsibility to take or direct timely and appropriate real-time actions in order to ensure the stable and reliable operation of the BPS, as required.

Finding: WECC found that the PER-001-0 violation constituted only a minimal risk to the BPS since URE’s real time energy traders, in practice, did have the necessary authority to take real-time actions and this violation is primarily a documentation issue. In addition, real time energy trader system operators are seldom required to respond to an emergency situation. In determining the penalty amount, the NERC BOTCC evaluated URE’s violation history; some of the violations were self-reported; URE was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations; URE has a compliance program in place (which was evaluated as a mitigating factor); the violations did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to BPS reliability; and there were no additional aggravating or mitigating factors.

Penalty: $135,000 (aggregate for 20 violations)

FERC Order: Issued March 1, 2012 (no further review)