On March 3, 2015, the Commission approved revisions to two regional Reliability Standards for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (“WECC”) region, VAR-002-WECC-2 (Automatic Voltage Regulators) and VAR-501-WECC-2 (Power System Stabilizer), along with their associated violation severity levels, violation risk factors, and implementation plans.

On December 15, 2014, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) and WECC submitted the revised regional Reliability Standards to the Commission for approval.  Section 215(e)(4) of the Federal Power Act permits a NERC Regional Entity to propose Reliability Standards specific to its respective region.  In Order No. 672, the Commission interpreted this provision, specifying that it will generally accept regional Reliability Standards that are: i) more stringent than the corresponding continent-wide NERC Reliability Standard, including a regional Reliability Standard that addresses matters that the associated continent-wide Reliability Standard does not; and (2) necessitated by a physical difference in the Bulk-Power System particular to that region.  The Commission approved earlier versions of VAR-002-WECC-2 and VAR-501-WECC-2 in 2007 and 2011.

In their December 15, 2014 petition, NERC and WECC stated that the proposed revisions arose from NERC’s “P 81” initiative—a project named after Paragraph 81 of the Commission’s March 15, 2012 order conditionally accepting NERC’s Find, Fix, and Track program.  The P 81 initiative was designed to identify requirements within Reliability Standards that could be removed without impacting the Reliability of the Bulk-Power System.  NERC and WECC stated that Requirement 2 of VAR-002-WECC-2 and VAR-501-WECC-2—an administrative time-keeping requirement—had been identified for removal.  NERC and WECC stated that this removal had been accomplished by transferring the documentation language from a Requirement to a “Measure” within each of the regional Reliability Standards.

In its March 3, 2015 Order, the Commission approved the revised regional Reliability Standards, noting that they: i) remained more stringent than their corresponding continent-wide NERC Reliability Standards; and ii) continued to address issues not addressed in the continent-wide NERC Reliability Standards.  The Commission also approved the associated violation risk factors, violation severity levels, and implementation plans proposed by NERC and WECC in their December 15, 2014 petition.

A copy of the Commission’s order may be found here.