On January 16, 2014, FERC proposed to approve the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (“NERC”) Reliability Standard for Geomagnetic Disturbances (“GMDs”).  In its proposal, FERC stated that Reliability Standard EOP-010-1 (Geomagnetic Disturbance Operations) is designed to mitigate the effects of GMDs on the Bulk-Power System.   NERC developed the Reliability Standard in response to directives in FERC’s Order No. 779.

The Reliability Standard for Geomagnetic Disturbance Operations is the first stage of a two-stage process required by Order No. 779 to address impacts of GMDs on the electrical grid.  Under this first stage, entities will be required to develop and implement procedures to mitigate the effects of GMDs on the grid.  Stage two will require entities to conduct initial and on-going assessments of GMDs on grid equipment and the grid as a whole. 

Reliability Standard EOP-010-1 has three requirements.  First, Requirement R1 directs reliability coordinators to develop and maintain a GMD Operating Plan for each reliability coordinator’s respective area.  While NERC stated that each reliability coordinator will develop the GMD Operating Plan, individual transmission operators will be responsible for the technical aspects of the Operating Procedures and Processes.  In addition, Requirement R1 directs reliability coordinators to outline what steps should be taken to mitigate GMD effects.

Second, Requirement R2 directs reliability coordinators to make space weather information available so that entities may coordinate and maintain a constant awareness of GMDs that may affect the reliability coordinator’s area.  This requirement will replace Requirement R3 of Reliability Standard IRO-005-3.1a, which currently requires the dissemination of space weather information regarding GMDs.

Third, Requirement R3 directs transmission operators to develop GMD Operating Procedures and Processes based on their own specific system and requirements.  These procedures and processes must specify: (1) the steps an entity will take to receive space weather information from the reliability coordinator; (2) the specific actions an entity will take under specific conditions; and (3) under what conditions an entity will cease operating under its GMD Operating Procedures and Processes.

FERC is accepting comments on its proposal to approve the reliability standard.  Comments on the proposal are due 60 days after publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

A copy of the proposed rule is available here.