March 15, 2002 — The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) today applauds the U.S. Senate for adopting Senator Thomas’ reliability language in its comprehensive electricity bill (S. 517).
NERC, the Western Governor’s Association, and a broad coalition of state, industry, and consumer groups supported the language in this amendment. The Thomas amendment would ensure that a new North American electric reliability organization and its affiliated regional reliability entities will operate efficiently and fairly.
The Thomas reliability language expressly protects the important roles of the states and regions, while authorizing the creation of an industry-based, North American-wide organization with FERC providing oversight in the United States. The original reliability language in S. 517 would have left decisions on grid reliability solely in the hands of FERC, without consideration of Canadian or Mexican interests in the reliability of the interconnected North American electric grid.
“By adopting the electric power reliability language in this amendment, Senator Thomas and his colleagues have made a clear statement that we need to get on with the job of creating an industry-led, self-regulatory reliability organization that will have the ability to set and enforce mandatory reliability standards throughout North America,” says Michehl R. Gent, NERC President and CEO. “Congress has been debating reliability issues for the past several years,” Gent added, “With the adoption of this language, we are encouraged that they will finish the job in this session of Congress.”
NERC is a not-for-profit company formed as a result of the Northeast blackout in 1965 to promote the reliability of the bulk electric systems that serve North America. It works with all segments of the electric industry as well as customers to “keep the lights on” by developing and encouraging compliance with rules for the reliable operation of these systems. NERC comprises ten Regional Reliability Councils that account for virtually all the electricity supplied in the United States, Canada, and a portion of Baja California Norte, Mexico.
Copies of NERC testimonies and comments on reliability legislation can be found on its web site at http://www.nerc.com.