On April 17, 2020, FERC granted the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (“NERC”) request to defer implementing several Commission-approved Reliability Standards that have effective dates or phased-in implementation dates in the second half of 2020. NERC argued the deferred implementation would not hamper grid reliability but would instead allow NERC-registered entities additional flexibility to continue prioritizing worker safety and reliability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its April 6, 2019 motion, NERC specifically requested a three-month implementation deferral for Reliability Standards CIP-005-6 (Cyber Security – Electronic Security Perimeter(s)), CIP-010-3 (Cyber Security – Configuration Change Management and Vulnerability Assessments), and CIP-013-1 (Cyber Security – Supply Chain Risk Management). NERC also requested a six-month implementation deferral for Reliability Standards PRC-002-2 (Disturbance Monitoring and Reporting Requirements), PRC-025-2 (Generator Relay Loadability), PRC-027-1 (Coordination of Protection Systems for Performance During Faults), and PER-006-1 (Specific Training for Personnel).

FERC granted NERC’s motion, concluding that the deferred implementation would allow registered entities additional time to focus their immediate efforts and resources on the safety and reliability issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. FERC added that NERC’s request presented a reasonable and proportionate response while also ensuring the security and reliability of the grid. Going forward FERC explained that though it granted an extension, entities should continue implementing current reliability standards while taking advantage of the additional time to ensure they are fully compliant once the standards become enforceable.

Click here to read FERC’s Order.