On September 18, 2014, the Commission issued Order No. 676-H, which revises its regulations to incorporate by reference, with several exceptions, Version 003 of the Standards for Business Practices and Communication Protocols for Public Utilities, as mandatory and enforceable requirements.  The purpose of the Version 003 standards is to promote a more seamless marketplace for wholesale electricity.

On April 25, 2006, the Commission, through Order No. 676, adopted the North American Energy Standards Board’s (“NAESB”) standards for the wholesale electric industry designed to standardize utility business practices, transactional processes, and the procedures for the Open Access Same-Time Information System (“OASIS”).  At that time, the Commission also established a formal, ongoing process for reviewing and updating these standards.

The Wholesale Electric Quadrant (“WEQ”) of the NAESB adopted the Version 003 standards and filed them with the Commission on September 18, 2012.  This filing package included:

  1. Revisions to existing standards that attempt to cure remaining inconsistencies with Order No. 890;
  2. Five categories of standards developed in response to Order No. 890, but not previously incorporated by reference into the Commission’s regulations, that address Service Across Multiple Transmission Systems, the effect of redirect requests on rollover rights and available transfer capability, and standards designed to support Network Integration Transmission Services (“NITS”) on OASIS;
  3. Modifications related to posting requirements associated with the Commission’s Standards of Conduct, in compliance with Order No. 717;
  4. Revisions to the WEQ-004 standards that conform the use of abbreviations, acronyms, definitions, and terms in a way that is consistent with those in standard WEQ-000;
  5. Modifications to support consistency between the business practice standards of the WEQ and the Wholesale Gas Quadrant; and
  6. Standards developed to support Smart Grid applications and standards related to the measurement and verification of Demand Response and Energy Efficiency products.

Going forward, public utilities and those entities with reciprocity tariffs are required to modify their Open Access Transmission Tariffs (“OATTs”) to include the Version 003 standards incorporated by reference in Order No. 676-H by making a compliance filing on or before December 1, 2014.  The Commission noted that if a public utility’s OASIS obligations are administered by an independent system operator or a regional transmission operator, and are not covered in the public utility’s OATT, then the public utility must still comply with the OASIS standards, but will not need to modify its OATT to include the OASIS standards.  Requests for waiver must be included in the compliance filing, or in a separate Federal Power Act 205 filing.  Additionally, the Commission established an 18-month compliance schedule to implement certain standards designed to support the NITS OASIS templates.  For all other standards incorporated by reference that are not related to the transition to the NITS OASIS templates, compliance is required by February 2, 2015

A copy of the Commission’s order, which details the specific standards incorporated by reference into the Commission’s regulations, those standards that were rejected by the Commission, and additional compliance information, may be found here.