On June 18, 2015, the Commission issued two separate Notice of Proposed Rulemakings (“NOPRs”) in which it proposed to approve several mandatory Reliability Standards submitted by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”).  The proposed Reliability Standards broadly address the areas of Transmission Operations (“TOP”), Interconnection Reliability Operations and Coordination (“IRO”), Emergency Preparedness (“EOP”), and Undervoltage Load Shedding (“UVLS”).  If approved, the proposed Reliability Standards would replace several currently-effective NERC Reliability Standards.

In the first NOPR, the Commission proposed to approve revisions to two families of Reliability Standards—TOP and IRO.  With respect to the TOP Reliability Standards, the Commission proposed to approve three Reliability Standards: (i) TOP-001-3 (Transmission Operations); (ii) TOP-002-4 (Operations Planning); and (iii) TOP-003-3 (Operational Reliability Data).  According to the Commission, these proposed TOP Reliability Standards generally address real-time operations and planning for next-day operations, and apply primarily to the authorities and responsibilities of Transmission Operators.  Importantly, the Commission noted that, as proposed, these Reliability Standards would incorporate the necessary requirements from all eight currently-effective TOP Reliability Standards into three cohesive and comprehensive Reliability Standards.  The Commission stated that it believed that the proposed revisions would “eliminate gaps and ambiguities in the currently-effective TOP requirements and improve efficiency.”

With respect to the IRO Reliability Standards proposed in the first NOPR, the Commission proposed to approve six Reliability Standards: (i) IRO-001-4 (Reliability Coordination – Responsibilities); (ii) IRO-002-4 (Reliability Coordination – Monitoring and Analysis; (iii) IRO-008-2 (Reliability Coordinator Operational Analyses and Real-time Assessments); (iv) IRO-010-2 (Reliability Coordinator Data Specification and Collection); (v) IRO-014-3 (Coordination Among Reliability Coordinators); and (vi) IRO-017-1 (Outage Coordination).  The Commission noted that the proposed IRO Reliability Standards set forth the responsibility and authority of Reliability Coordinators to provide for reliable operations, and generally complement the three proposed TOP Reliability Standards.  The Commission stated that the proposed IRO Reliability Standards are “designed to ensure that the bulk electric system is planned and operated in a coordinated manner to perform reliably under normal and abnormal conditions.”

In the second NOPR issued on June 18, 2015, the Commission proposed to approve two Reliability Standards: (i) EOP-011-1 (Emergency Operations); and (ii) PRC-010-1 (Undervoltage Load Shedding).  With respect to EOP-011-1, the Commission noted that the proposed Reliability Standard consolidates the requirements of three currently-effective EOP Reliability Standards—EOP-001-2.1b, EOP-002-3.1, and EOP-003-2—into a single Reliability Standard that clarifies the “critical requirements” for Emergency Operations.  The Commission stated that EOP-011-1 “enhances reliability by requiring that actions necessary to mitigate capacity and energy emergencies are focused in single operating plans, and ensures communication and coordination among relevant entities during emergency operations.”

With respect to PRC-010-1, the Commission noted that, according to NERC, PRC-010-1 is a single, comprehensive Reliability Standard that addresses the same reliability principles outlined in the four currently-effective UVLS-related Reliability Standards, and that the purpose of PRC-010-1 is to “establish an integrated and coordinated approach to the design, evaluation, and reliable operation of Undervoltage Load Shedding Programs.”  The Commission stated that while the Reliability Standard, as proposed by NERC, would replace four currently-effective Reliability Standards—PRC-010-0, PRC-020-1, PRC-021-1, and PRC-022-1—it was nonetheless concerned that PRC-010-1 did not adequately address the potential misoperation of UVLS equipment, and therefore proposed to keep one of the four retiring Reliability Standards, PRC-022-1, in place until a replacement Reliability Standard can be drafted.

The comment dates for both June 18, 2015 NOPRs are 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

A copy of both NOPRs may be found here.