NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard TPL-004-0 | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard TPL-004-0

NERC Case Notes: Reliability Standard TPL-004-0

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City of Cleveland, Dept. of Public Utilities, Division of Cleveland Public Power, FERC Docket NP10-21-000 (December 30, 2009)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium for R1, Lower for R2

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: RFC

Issue: Cleveland Public Power (CPP) failed to demonstrate by valid assessment that its transmission system was evaluated for risks inherent to certain extreme Category D contingencies and failed to document its reliability assessments and corrective plans.

Finding: Duration of violation was from June 18, 2007, when the Reliability Standards became enforceable, through October 16, 2009. In reaching a settlement penalty, RFC considered (1) CPP self-reported the violations; (2) CPP was cooperative throughout the enforcement process; and (3) CPP committed substantial financial and personnel resources, compared to its size, in order to achieve compliance with the standards.

Penalty: $160,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

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

City of Columbia, MO, FERC Docket No. NP08-29-000 (June 5, 2008)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Lower

Region: SERC

Issue: An audit revealed that the City of Columbia did not perform annual assessments of its transmission system to evaluate the risks and consequences of Category D extreme contingencies.

Finding: Penalty was appropriate because no system disturbance occurred as a result of the violation and thus the violation did not put the bulk power system reliability at serious or substantial risk; the violation occurred prior to January 2008 during the period in which FERC stated that NERC should focus enforcement resources on the most serious violations; the violation was the City of Columbia's first; and the City of Columbia cooperated in the audit and quickly corrected the violation.

Penalty: $0

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

Eugene Water & Electric Board, FERC Docket No. NP11-43-000 (November 30, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: WECC

Issue: Eugene Water & Electric Board ("EWEB") submitted a self-report for failing to perform required stability studies under the multiple element extreme contingency conditions as defined in TPL-004-0. EWEB was operating under the assumption that the Balancing Authority ("BA") was conducting the required studies on its behalf, but had not communicated with the BA to confirm this point to assure compliance.

Finding: This was EWEB's first violation of this Reliability Standard, EWEB self-reported the violation and was cooperative throughout the enforcement process, there was no evidence of any attempt or intent to conceal the violation, and the violation did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because EWEB's system is a small portion of a single BA, with a winter peak load of approximately 524 MW, and EWEB does not have any critical interconnection ties.

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

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

Florida Municipal Power Agency, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (R1); Lower (R2)

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: FRCC

Issue: In December 2007, Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) self-certified that it had not performed the mandated assessments and studies as required by TPL-004-0.

Finding: FRCC found that the violations did not involve a serious or substantial risk to bulk power system reliability since system planning was actually being performed by FMPA's Planning Authority and the transmission planning working group (even though FMPA was not conducting the assessments and studies as required). They were FMPA's first violations of this Reliability Standard and it completed a mitigation plan.

Penalty: $0

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

Imperial Irrigation District, FERC Docket No. NP10-160-000 (September 13, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (R1), Lower (R2)

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: Imperial Irrigation District (IID) self-reported that it had not analyzed transient stability studies to determine if its system performance would be able to handle Category D contingencies. As a result, IID did not possess the necessary documentation and would not have been able to provide WECC with certain required information.

Finding: WECC found that the violations did not constitute a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system since IID had actually completed power flow studies, even though it had not evaluated the risk and consequences of certain contingencies as required. IID has a peak load of 950 MW in southeastern California and is interconnected with multiple Transmission Operators and Balancing Authorities. Furthermore, IID self-reported the violations and they were IID's first violation of this Reliability Standard. Although the violations occurred before the Reliability Standards become mandatory on June 18, 2007, IID did not timely complete an acceptable mitigation plan. Even with the late completion of the mitigation plan, WECC decided not to impose a penalty.

Penalty: $0

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

Modesto Irrigation District, FERC Docket No. NP10-93-000 (March 31, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: R1-Medium, R2-Lower

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: Modesto Irrigation District (MID) failed to perform the full range of "Category D" studies and assessments required by TPL-004-0 R1 and R2.

Finding: The alleged violations occurred from June 18, 2007, when the Standard became enforceable, until December 29, 2008, when MID completed a mitigation plan. Through settlement, no penalty was assessed and MID agreed to undertake a number of activities, including accelerating "Job Task Analysis" development for MID's operators and construction of a back-up control center. In reaching the agreement, WECC considered that it was MID's first violations of this Standard; the violations did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the reliability of the bulk power system; MID is a government entity and a small irrigation district; most violations were self-reported; MID did not attempt to conceal the violations; and the violations were not intentional.

Penalty: $0

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

NERC Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP10-137-000 (July 6, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Not discussed

Region: WECC

Issue: The NERC Registered Entity could not provide a study of the impact of various demand levels (defined in Category D) on the bulk power system or produce an annual assessment.

Finding: The NERC Registered Entity mitigated the violation by providing a valid annual assessment. No further publicly available information was provided.

Penalty: $39,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

FERC Order: Issued August 5, 2010 (no further review)

NERC Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP10-159-000 (July 30, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium for R1, Lower for R2

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: The Registered Entity failed to provide evidence that its assessments included a near-term summer study, nor current or past studies over the range of forecast system demand as required. Also, the Registered Entity did not provide documentation that it performed or evaluated stability studies for Category D contingencies and did not have an assessment that considered all contingencies applicable to Category D.

Finding: Duration of the violations was from June 18, 2007, when the Reliability Standard became enforceable, through November 26, 2008. The violations did not pose a serious risk to the reliability of the bulk power system because the violations were primarily documentation issues, and the Registered Entity is only a medium-sized entity in its balancing authority area. These were the Registered Entity's first violations of the Reliability Standard.

Penalty: $109,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

FERC Order: Issued August 27, 2010 (no further review)

Nevada Power Company, FERC Docket No. NP10-54-000 (March 1, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium/Lower

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: Nevada Power did not evaluate the risks and consequences of certain extreme contingencies listed in Category D.

Finding: Duration of violation was from June 18, 2007, when the standard became enforceable, through July 31, 2008. The violation was deemed not to pose a serious or substantial risk to bulk power system reliability because Nevada Power had performed evaluations, just not ones sufficient to meet the standard's requirements.

Penalty: $52,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

FERC Order: Issued March 31, 2010 (no further review)

Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County, FERC Docket No. NP10-2-000 (October 14, 2009)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (R1); Lower (R2)

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: In July 2007, Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County (CHPD) self-reported that it had not demonstrated a valid assessment and, therefore, could not meet all of the requirements of TPL-004-0.

Finding: WECC found that the violations did not pose a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system due to the nature and location of CHPD’s system. In addition, CHPD had also historically conducted steady-state assessments on its portion of the interconnected transmission system. The violations were self-reported and were CHPD’s first violations of this Reliability Standard. A mitigation plan has been completed.

Penalty: $0

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

Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish, FERC Docket No. NP11-135-000 (March 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: WECC

Issue: Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish (SNPD), a Transmission Planner, failed to perform the required stability studies under the multiple element extreme contingency conditions as defined in the Reliability Standard.

Finding: The NERC Board of Trustees Compliance Committee (NERC BOTCC) approved a settlement agreement which included a penalty in the amount of $26,000 for this and other violations. In reaching this determination, the NERC BOTCC considered the following facts: the violation constituted SNPD’s first violation of the subject NERC Reliability Standard; SNPD self-reported the violations; SNPD cooperated during the compliance enforcement process; SNPD did not attempt to conceal a 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: $26,000 (aggregate for 8 violations)

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

PUD No. 1 Douglas County, FERC Docket No. NP10-167-000 (September 30, 2010)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1, R2

Violation Risk Factor: Medium (R1), Lower (R2)

Violation Severity Level: Severe (R1, R2)

Region: WECC

Issue: PUD No. 1 of Douglas County (DOPD), as a Transmission Planner, failed to maintain current studies in the near-term and long-term planning horizons. DOPD could not provide a valid assessment showing that DOPD’s portion of the interconnected transmission system is evaluated for the risks and consequences of a number of each of the extreme contingencies that are listed under Category D of Table I. As such, DOPD was in violation of TPL-004-0 R1. In addition, DOPD could not provide the results of its reliability assessments to WECC as required by R2.

Finding: WECC imposed a $10,000 penalty for these and other violations. In assessing the penalty, WECC determined that the alleged violations did not create a serious or substantial risk to the bulk power system because, as DOPD conducts weekly operations reviews of system conditions, DOPD is aware of the real time and weekly system conditions. WECC also considered the fact that DOPD operates the Wells Hydroelectric Project, which consists of 10 generating units capable of producing approximately 840 MW of electricity, within a single Balancing Authority.

Penalty: $70,000 (aggregate for multiple violations)

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

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

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: 1/1.3/1.3.1/1.4

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Lower

Region: TRE

Issue: In July 2011, Texas-New Mexico Power Co. (TNMP), as a TP, self-certified that it did not perform a stability analysis in order to test system performance under defined conditions for all relevant contingencies.

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 analysis 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 June 28, 2007 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)

Turlock Irrigation District, FERC Docket NP10-18-000 (November 13, 2009)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Not provided

Region: WECC

Issue: TID self-reported that it did not properly complete and distribute the required valid assessment of Category D conditions to neighboring entities.

Finding: Duration of the violation was from June 18, 2007, when the Reliability Standards became enforceable through October 25, 2008. WECC gave consideration to the fact that TID is a small entity with limited financial resources, it self-reported the violations, the violation resulted in a minimal to moderate impact to the reliability of the bulk power system, the violation was TID’s first of this requirement, and TID provided evidence of a superlative compliance program.

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

FERC Order: Order Denying Rehearing and Providing Clarification, issued June 21, 2012, 139 FERC ¶ 61,248 (2012); http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2012/062112/E-8.pdf

Unidentified Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP11-180-000 (April 29, 2011)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Lower

Violation Severity Level: Moderate

Region: WECC

Issue: The Unidentified Registered Entity (URE) self-reported that it did not possess a sufficient assessment of its planning which incorporated all of the mandated studies and the rationales needed to select the contingencies for evaluation.

Finding: WECC and the URE entered into a settlement agreement to resolve multiple violations, whereby the URE agreed to pay a penalty of $71,500 and to undertake other mitigation measures. WECC found that the violation of TPL-004-0 constituted a minimal risk to bulk power system reliability since the URE was actually in compliance with the Reliability Standard for part of its footprint (even though there were documentation problems for the other part of its footprint). The duration of the TPL-004-0 violation was from June 18, 2007 through January 13, 2009. In approving the settlement agreement and the penalty determination, NERC considered the fact that the violations were the URE’s first violations of the relevant Reliability Standards; most of the violations were self-reported; the URE was cooperative during the enforcement process and did not conceal the violations; the URE had a compliance program in place (which was evaluated as a mitigating factor); the penalty for the violation of IRO-STD-006-0 WR1 was based on a specified Sanction Table; the violations of IRO-005-2 R13 and TOP-008-1 R2 resulted from a single noncompliance occurrence; and there were no additional aggravating or mitigating factors.

Penalty: $71,500 (aggregate for 9 violations)

FERC Order: May 27, 2011 (no further review)

Unidentified Registered Entity, FERC Docket No. NP11-269-000 (September 30, 2011)

Reliability Standard: TPL-004-0

Requirement: R1

Violation Risk Factor: Medium

Violation Severity Level: Severe

Region: WECC

Issue: URE self-reported that it failed to finalize documentation of its annual assessment for 2009 until 2010.

Finding: WECC determined that the violation posed a minimal risk to the reliability of the BPS because the URE did not prepare the assessments that were required, but its portion of the interconnected transmission system is planned such that it can be operated to supply projected customer demands and projected Firm Transmission Services at all demand levels over the range of forecasted system demands. Duration of the violation was from the date the assessments were due through May 6, 2010. WECC and the NERC BOTCC took into consideration that URE had a compliance program as a particular mitigating factor as well as the self-report. WECC also exercised its discretion to assess a single aggregate penalty for the violations of TPL-001-0.1, TPL-002-0, TPL-003-0 and TPL-004-0 stemming from this one incident of non-compliance.

Penalty: $225,000 (aggregate for 11 violations)

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