On July 10, 2013, FERC approved a Stipulation and Consent Agreement (“Agreement”) between the Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) and Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”), for alleged violations of Reliability Standards in conjunction with SPP’s reliability coordination of the bulk power system.  Following an investigation by Enforcement, SPP was fined $50,000 and required to submit semi-annual compliance filings.

Enforcement’s investigation commenced after FERC conducted an independent audit that revealed an event in which SPP lost all primary communications and visibility of system conditions at its primary control center.  This event resulted in SPP reliability coordinator personnel evacuating to SPP’s back-up control center.  However, during this event outage, FERC determined that SPP failed to follow proper emergency procedures.  Specifically, Enforcement found that SPP failed to place certain phone calls to inform adjacent Reliability Coordinators and their personnel of their event, and SPP failed to request monitoring assistance from adjacent balancing authorities during the event outage.  Additionally, the investigation concluded that SPP failed to submit a disturbance report to SPP’s Regional Entity arm or to NERC.

Therefore, Enforcement determined that SPP was in violation of Reliability Standard IRO-015-1, Requirement 1, for failure to follow its operating procedures, and Reliability Standard EOP-004-1, Requirement 3, for failure to provide a written report of the incident within 24 hours of a reportable event.  SPP neither admitted nor denied any violations in consenting to the Agreement.

A copy of the Agreement is available here.