NERC pushes Congress for reliability legislation

Washington, D.C.

In mid-October, North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) General Counsel David Cook testified before the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; he stated that legislation is necessary to ensure the continued security and reliability of the North American bulk power system.

“The need to change how we deal with reliability is clear,” Cook asserted. “The electric industry is undergoing profound changes, and our system of reliability needs to change to keep pace. The events of September 11 serve to underscore the importance of the effort.”

“NERC strongly urges Congress to enact reliability legislation in this session of Congress,” he said.

According to Cook, an industry-led self-regulatory organization (SRO) would be in the best position to establish the rules for running the highly complex interconnected transmission system. Such an organization would be able to focus on reliability as its primary mission, while the electric industry and electricity markets continue to evolve. An SRO would also address the international nature of the interconnected grid, Cook testified. With participation from U.S., Canadian, and Mexican interests, the SRO could develop a common set of rules necessary to operate a grid that spans national borders.

Cook pointed out that NERC plays a critical role in the security of North America’s electric transmission infrastructure and that, in the future, the SRO could serve as a point of contact and coordination on industry-wide security efforts. He urged Congress to adopt legislation authorizing creation of an industry SRO both for reliability and for security reasons.

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