NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard TOP-005-1 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard TOP-005-1

NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard TOP-005-1

White & Case NERC Database

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

Reliability Standard: TOP-005-1

Requirement: 1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: WECC

Issue: AVBA self-reported, as a TOP, that it was unable to verify that it was providing the required real time operating data for its transmission line to the Salt River Project (SRP), its neighboring TOP.

Finding: WECC found that the TOP-005-1 violation only constituted a minimal risk to BPS reliability since AVBA was actually providing SRP with the required information. The duration of the TOP-005-1 violation was from November 5, 2007 through June 17, 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)

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

Reliability Standard: TOP-005-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

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. TOP-005-1 R4 seeks to ensure that reliability entities have necessary operating data to monitor system conditions within their area. During the audit, CES could not demonstrate to SERC that it was providing information to its host balancing authorities and transmission providers to conduct operational reliability assessments and coordinate reliable operations.

Finding: SERC found that the CES' 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 implemented a wide-range of mitigation measures; and (v) CES had no intent to violate the standards.

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

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

Progress Energy Florida, FERC Docket No. NP11-256-000 (August 11, 2011)

Reliability Standard: TOP-005-1

Requirement: R1.1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Lower

Region: FRCC

Issue: Following a Self-Report, FRCC determined Progress Energy Florida (PEF), as a BA and TOP, did not notify the Reliability Coordinator (RC) of a change in the status of its Automatic Voltage Coordinator on four occasions.

Finding: FRCC assessed a $40,000 penalty for this and other Reliability Standards violations. FRCC determined that the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the reliability of the bulk power system (BPS) because the PEF’s Energy Control Center would have sent real-time analog MVAR output values to the RC through the Inter Control Center Protocol link, and the two facilities at issue had nameplate ratings of only 26 and 30 MWs. In approving the settlement between PEF and FRCC, the NERC BOTCC considered the following factors: the violation of PRC-005-1 was PEF’s second violation of that Reliability Standard, which increased the monetary penalty; PEF self-reported the violation; PEF was cooperative; PEF had a compliance program at the time of the violation, which FRCC viewed as a neutral factor; there was no evidence of an attempt or intent to conceal the violation; FRCC determined the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the reliability of the BPS; there were no other aggravating or mitigating factors.

Penalty: $40,000 (aggregated for 4 violations)

FERC Order: Issued September 9, 2011 (no further review)

Public Service Company of New Hampshire, FERC Docket No. NP11-133-000 (February 28, 2011)

Reliability Standard: TOP-005-1

Requirement: R3

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Lower

Region: NPCC

Issue: Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s (PSNH) Electric System Control Center (ESCC) in Manchester, New Hampshire placed into service with the Independent System Operator – New England (ISO-NE) the Fitzwilliam 345/115 kV Autotransformer TB34 without providing all Inter-Control Center Communication Protocol (ICCP) telemetered quantities to the New England dispatch communications network. Five 5 ICCP points (low-side transformer MWs, low-side transformer MVARs and transformer tap position for Phase A, B, C) were missing out of 60.

Finding: NPCC assessed a $7,500 penalty for the violation and determined that it posed a minimal risk to bulk power system reliability and the ISO-NE real time contingency analysis, monitoring, and state estimation programs, because all other ICCP points from the Fitzwilliam transformer were provided to ISO-NE, including status of all 345 and 115 kV breakers and voltage, megawatt and megavar telemetering for all 345 kV and 115 kV buses and lines. While ISO-NE did not have actual telemetry for the 5 ICCP points, it did have information about them provided by state estimation.

Penalty: $$7,500

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

Southern Nevada Water Authority, FERC Docket No. NP10-160-000 (September 13, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TOP-005-1

Requirement: R4

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In June 2007, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) self-certified that it did not possess sufficient documentation showing that it was providing information as requested by its Host Balancing Authorities and Transmission Operators for them to conduct operational reliability assessments and coordinate reliable operations.

Finding: WECC found that this violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since, from an operations standpoint, SNWA's load is constant and only represents a relatively small portion of its Host Balancing Authority and Transmission Operator's total load. The duration of the violation was from June 18, 2007 through November 18, 2008. This was SNWA's first violation of this Reliability Standard.

Penalty: $0

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

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

Reliability Standard: TOP-005-1

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: WECC

Issue: URE self-reported (as well as self-certified) that it did not comply one time when the RC (WECC) requested that URE provide real-time indication via an Inter-Control Center Communications Protocol (ICCP) data link of its AVR data and the connection status of any generator over 50 MW within 73 days. URE, which operates two generation units rated over 50 MW, did not provide the requested information according to the timeline or format specified. URE also did not provide certain ICCP operating data information requested by WECC in its annual data request letter and spreadsheet. The data was needed by WECC to conduct operational reliability assessments and coordinate the reliable operations with the RC area.

Finding: WECC found that the TOP-005-1 violation constituted only a minimal risk to the BPS since the URE provided the necessary data to WECC in enough time for WECC to update its model, and there were no adverse consequences from the late submission. In addition, URE’s generation capacity only represents a small amount of the overall generation capacity in the BPS. 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)

Unidentified Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP12-16 (February 29, 2012)

Reliability Standard: TOP-005-1

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium Violation Severity Level: Lower

Region: WECC

Issue: URE self-reported that, for 27 months, it had provided the WECC RC with a conservative scheduling limit on a transmission facility, instead of providing WECC RC the real-time SOL as required. URE had provided average hourly data in response to a RC request for real-time load data, which led to the RC relying on inaccurate data for its SOL calculation for the transmission facility.

Finding: WECC found that the TOP-005-1 violation constituted only a minimal risk to the BPS. The RC was not close to exceeding the real-time SOL since it was operating according to a more conservative SOL that was calculated from URE’s hourly data. URE’s real-time load data had a less conservative limit than the hourly load data. During the violation, URE received a directive from its RC to return the facility to its SOL, but if URE had provided the RC with its real-time data (and therefore there would have been a higher SOL), the RC would likely not have issued the reliability directive. In approving the settlement agreement, URE evaluated URE’s violation history; the violations were self-reported; URE was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations; URE had a compliance program in place; and the violations did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to BPS reliability.

Penalty: $80,000 (aggregate for 6 violations)

FERC Order: Issued March 30, 2012 (no further review)