NERC expands role

October 16, 2001 — At a watershed meeting today in Vancouver, BC, the North American Electric Reliability Council’s (NERC) Board of Trustees took bold steps to expand its role for developing standards for the wholesale electric industry in North America.

Michehl R. Gent, NERC President and CEO, said, “On the strength of strong recommendations from the NERC Stakeholders Committee, the Board pledged to take all necessary steps to become the single organization in North America to develop both reliability standards and wholesale electric business practice standards and to file such standards with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and appropriate government agencies in Canada.”

“NERC is committed,” says Gent, “to establishing a fair, open, balanced, and inclusive process for developing all standards.” NERC’s Board approved a new process for developing standards and agreed to a new composition and weighted sector voting model for its standing committees.

NERC has long been recognized and respected as the industry’s developer of standards for the reliable planning and operation of interconnected transmission systems throughout North America. These standards have been the basis for the reliable operation of the bulk electric systems for over 30 years.

Richard Drouin, Chairman of NERC, stated, “The Board of Trustees recognizes the urgent need for a single organization to develop both reliability standards and wholesale electric business practice standards that are well coordinated. Such standards,” Drouin added, “are vital to support the evolution of competitive electricity markets, the formation of large regional transmission organizations, and continued reliability and security of interconnected transmission systems.”

Today’s actions are a major step toward formalizing a role that NERC has filled for some time. NERC spearheaded the OASIS “What” and “How” Working Groups that developed the Standards and Communications Protocols followed by all transmission providers; formed a Market Interface Committee to address the impact of reliability standards on markets and the impact of market practices on reliability; and facilitates the Electronic Scheduling Collaborative, which recently filed a report with FERC on its efforts to develop common business practice standards for electronic scheduling (OASIS Phase II).

To accomplish its reinvention, NERC will actively solicit support from Canadian and U.S. government entities, and facilitate — jointly with interested trade associations; federal, state, and provincial regulators; and other stakeholder organizations — an open and inclusive process to achieve consensus on the details of its new role.

In parallel actions, the Board also took steps to ensure the independence of actions by its 21 Security Coordinators from any wholesale or retail merchant functions, and agreed to revamp the composition and voting structure of its standing committees.

For more information on NERC or its transformation into NAERO, visit NERC’s web site ( The web site also includes information on the electric industry’s electricity supply and delivery programs and activities.

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