NERC News for August

Aug. 12, 2002

NERC Reviews Midwest ISO and PJM Reliability Plans
The Board of Trustees established the security coordinator (now called reliability coordinator) function in 1996 and required that each NERC Region develop a reliability plan to meet NERC standards that deal with operational reliability. The Operating Committee (OC) was given the responsibility and authority to approve the reliability plans. The OC has since approved the reliability plans of all North American reliability coordinators.

FERC Order 2000, which addressed the formation of regional transmission organizations, is having an impact on reliability coordinators as consolidations and ISO membership changes have evolved within and across the Regions. And as former Alliance RTO members announced their intentions to join either PJM or MISO earlier this year, differing views arose regarding the potential reliability impacts of those decisions. In July, FERC asked NERC to approve the PJM and MISO reliability plans and formally requested NERC to address the reliability and operational concerns that have arisen from the proposals of certain companies to join PJM and MISO.

Pursuant to NERC’s directive, PJM and MISO submitted to NERC a jointly developed list of potential reliability issues. The list covered such topics as the coordination of congestion management procedures, ATC calculation and coordination, development of emergency and restoration procedures, and generation and transmission outage coordination.

On July 11, OC Chairman Derek Cowbourne convened a special joint meeting of the Operating Reliability Subcommittee (ORS) and the Reliability Coordinator Working Group to discuss potential operational reliability impacts of the proposed MISO and PJM membership changes. Representatives of MISO, PJM and other interested parties discussed the joint PJM/MISO submission as well as other issues relevant to the commission’s inquiry.

NERC responded to FERC’s data request based on the discussions at the joint meeting. NERC did not identify any reliability issues that, individually, would disqualify the proposed configuration of the PJM and MISO regional transmission organizations, provided that satisfactory solutions are developed to comprehensively address the significant reliability issues identified by PJM and MISO. NERC’s filing noted that neither PJM nor MISO have had an opportunity to develop their revised reliability plans. The filing can be found at:

The Technical Steering Committee requested NERC staff to develop guidelines for reviewing the MISO and PJM reliability plans, as well as the plans of ECAR, MAIN, and other reliability coordinators affected by the proposed configuration of PJM and MISO. The guidelines provide a preliminary timeline for the ORS and the OC to review the specifically identified reliability and operational concerns. As this process moves forward, we will provide updates in this newsletter. – Larry Kezele

Security Standards for Electric Market Participants Submitted to FERC
NERC submitted to FERC its “Security Standards for Electric Market Participants” proposal, prepared by the Critical Infrastructure Protection Advisory Group, which addresses the need to protect the electric grid and market systems from compromises — either accidental or malicious — that could have detrimental effects.

The document proposes a set of minimum requirements for securing information assets that support grid reliability and market operations and the physical environments in which these information assets operate. The standards are derived from commonly accepted best practices that apply to information technology in general and can be readily implemented using available technology. It is expected that these requirements will change as technology improves and potential vulnerabilities are identified and better understood.

FERC subsequently included these standards in its Standard Electricity Market Design Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SMD NOPR). Ultimately, the expectation is that these and future security standards will be codified as NERC standards are incorporated into future FERC rules. – Julie Morgan

NERC Offers Specialty System Operator Exams
NERC’s system operator certification program has been revised as the result of a job analysis performed last August. The job analysis indicated that the job of the system operator varies greatly from one entity to another. To address these differences, NERC is now offering four “specialty” system operator exams, rather than a single exam for all system operators:

“- NERC Certified System Operator — Transmission
“- NERC Certified System Operator — Balancing and Interchange
“- NERC Certified System Operator — Balancing, Interchange, and Transmission
“- NERC Certified System Operator — Reliability Coordinator

The Personnel Subcommittee offers the following recommendations for users seeking to determine the correct credential(s) for their job responsibilities:

“- Read the critical task list associated with each credential.
“- Note if any critical task listed applies to your job.
“- Take the exam to obtain the applicable credential(s).

To access the critical task list, go to From the index on the left, select “Examinations,” and then under each certification, select “Criteria” to view the critical task list of each certification. If an individual performs tasks requiring different credentials, then that individual should seek multiple credentials, the composite credential, or the highest-level credential (reliability).

The Personnel Subcommittee strongly advises that control center supervisors or managers consult with their system operators to determine the appropriate credential(s) for their responsibilities.

The new certification examinations have been delivered to Prometric, the program administrator, for processing and implementation on September 3, 2002. The administration of the original system operator certification examination ended on August 2, 2002. There is a 30-day no-test period (August 3-September 2) to allow the new examinations to be implemented.

All individuals who are currently registered for the NERC System Operator Certification Examination must submit an examination change form to NERC by September 2, 2002. The change form allows the individual to select one of the new credentials being offered through the program. A letter explaining the process and the change form were mailed to all registered applicants in late June. To download a copy of the change form, go to: – Pat Everly

NERC Opens On-line Discussion Center
NERC has established an on-line discussion center that is designed to provide a forum where industry personnel involved with system operations can ask and answer questions and express their opinions on a variety of topics such as operations, certification (both personnel and organizational), compliance and NERC policies and standards. The discussion center is expected to evolve over time as the NERC staff gains more experience with it and we receive feedback from discussion center users.

NERC strongly encourages all system operations personnel to register to utilize this new communications tool. Registration gives users immediate access to all of the features of the discussion center, including posting new messages and responding to others. User registration information is confidential and is not given out by NERC.

New users can download a user guide, which will help them navigate and post messages, at: To access the discussion center, go to:

A frequently asked questions (FAQ) link provides users with additional information. NERC’s Manager-Training, John Theotonio, is the discussion center moderator. He can be contacted at: – John Theotonio

Future Role of Standing Committees Considered
The Market Interface, Planning and Operating Committees continued their deliberations on the future role and functions of NERC’s standing committees and subcommittees at their July meetings.

The groups reviewed the appropriateness of the ten functions identified by the executive committees of the standing committees, several organizational alternatives for the standing committees, the potential impact of FERC’s SMD NOPR, and how reliability and business practices issues would be coordinated with NAESB.

The results of these discussions have been forwarded to the executive committees of the standing committees for further review and inclusion in a report to the Board. To review the standing committees’ meeting highlights, visit – Bill Lohrman

Market Redispatch Program Enhancements Proposed
The MIC endorsed proposed enhancements in the IDC related to the Market Redispatch Program, allowing partial redispatch and flexibility in designating flowgate solutions and timing requirements. The MIC suggested that the enhancements proceed as long as efforts don’t require excessive resources and that the implementation allows sufficient time for operator training. A formal change order will be prepared for approval by the NERC Finance and Audit Committee. – Bill Lohrman

Synchronizing Islands Training Document Available
The Training Resources Working Group continues to issue new training documents that provide system operating personnel with information about power system operations and how NERC operating policies and planning standards relate to their jobs. The latest document in this series is an overview of the basic concepts involving synchronizing islands after a widespread blackout or system separation.

The goal is to build system operators’ understanding of the basic concepts and knowledge needed to synchronize islands after a system disturbance. This document includes a glossary, review questions and an answer key. It can be downloaded at: – John Theotonio

Workshop Scheduled on IEEE Standard 762
GADS uses the IEEE Standard 762, “Definitions for Reporting Electric Generating Unit Reliability, Availability and Productivity,” as the basis for its fundamental definitions and equations. The standard is currently being revised to include additional definitions and equations needed to make it more international and meet the market environment. The results and updates to the standard will be reviewed at the GADS annual data reporting workshop this October. To register for the workshop, go to: . – Mike Curley

Status of NERC’s Application for Accreditation
ANSI published NERC’s application for accreditation as an ANSI standards development organization and its Organization Standards Process Manual, Version 2 for a 30-day public review and comment period ( We have responded to each of the three entities that commented on our application and are now waiting to hear the results of ANSI’s review of our application. – Julie Morgan

GADS Holds ISO Workshop
Both the ISO New England and New York ISO requested a special GADS data reporting workshop for their members. The two ISOs require event and performance record reporting each month in the GADS format. Mike Curley taught 80 members about the fundamentals of the program and distributed a copy of the GADS data entry programs to each. A copy of the free software is available at – Mike Curley

GADS 2001 Data Overdue
If you have not reported your 2001 data to GADS or have not submitted corrections to the data, please do so. We expect to issue the new Generating Availability Report, GADS brochure and pc-GAR before the end of summer. For information on how to submit the data, go to: Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. – Mike Curley

Kent Saathoff, ERCOT’s Transmission Operations Market Manager, spent time in Princeton explaining ERCOT’s market operations to the NERC staff. Kent started with the Texas Public Utility Commission’s 1996 order, and then explained the ancillary services market, real-time balancing market, account settlements procedures, and retail functions that are in place today. – Don Benjamin

This monthly newsletter, reprinted with permission from NERC, is intended to provide recipients with the latest news concerning NERC activities. For more information, visit or e-mail questions to

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