On August 27, 2012, FERC announced that it will hold two technical conferences in September to discuss actions in response to the August 16, 2011 Report on Outages and Curtailments During the Southwest Cold Weather Event of February 1-5, 2011 (the “Report”). Staff members from the Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) formed a joint task force, and presented the Report at FERC’s September 15, 2011 open meeting (see September 16, 2011 edition of the WER).
The Report revealed that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. experienced a similar cold weather event in 1989, but lessons learned were not used to prevent the February 2011 outages, which led to rolling blackouts, and affected over 4 million customers. The joint task force of FERC and NERC staff found that balancing authorities and reserve sharing groups must review distribution of reserves to make sure they are useable and deliverable during contingencies. The joint task force also recommended balancing authorities improve communications during extreme weather events between transmission owners and operators, distribution providers, and other market participants.
The first technical conference will be held on September 25th in Austin, Texas and led by Commission staff. The conference is open to the public, and will look at the progress made on the Report’s recommendations and specifically whether “sufficient safeguards have been implemented to avert a repeat of the loss of generation due to severe cold weather issues.” The second technical conference will be held on September 27th in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and led by Commission staff. The conference is also open to the public and will look at both the Report’s recommendations and whether safeguards have been implemented to “avert a repeat of loss of approximately 700 megawatts of generation in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council due to severe cold weather issues.”
Parties who are interested in registering for the technical conference in Austin must do so by September 18th. Parties interested in registering for the technical conference in Albuquerque must do so by September 20th. Participants for either day may register here. The Commission will issue agendas for both technical conferences at a later date.