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FERC Targets July for NOPR on NERC Reliability Rules

FERC last Tuesday announced a rulemaking proceeding to address reliability standards developed by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). The Commission expects to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) on the reliability standards in July.

Prior to issuance of a NOPR, staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will release its preliminary assessment of the proposed reliability standards. Further, the Commission intends to hold a technical conference on the proposed standards and the staff's preliminary assessment. The Commission will provide an opportunity to comment on the preliminary assessment and technical conference.

"The Commission must assure that reliability standards meet the statutory requirements," said Commission Chairman Joseph Kelliher. "For that reason, the Commission staff some time ago began studying the existing reliability standards so that we were positioned to act promptly when the standards are proposed. We look forward to reviewing this deliberate examination."

As the Commission transitions to the new mandatory reliability standard regime, the pre-NOPR process will allow industry participants to help the Commission to determine which of the standards the Commission should propose to accept, remand or conditionally accept, FERC said. In addition, it will help the Commission determine the type of guidance and appropriate timelines the Commission should propose for revising and improving the standards.

On April 4, NERC filed 102 proposed reliability standards, subject to its application for certification as the electric reliability organization under section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA) [RR06-1-000].

Section 215 of the FPA was enacted as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide for a system of mandatory, enforceable reliability standards.

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