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Violation Risk Factors of Reliability Standards Approved

By CP Editorial Staff May 2007 - Design & Construction

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently approved the assignment of over 700 violation risk factors for the North American’s Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) reliability standards.

A violation risk factor links the violation of a requirement of a Reliability Standard with its potential reliability impact on the bulk-power system, according to FERC. Violation risk factors are a part of the Electric Reliability Organization’s (ERO) compliance and enforcement program that will be used in the determination of monetary penalties for violations of reliability standards.

FERC also directed NERC to modify 28 violation risk factor assignments and make a compliance filing within 60 days with an explanation for the assignment of approximately 75 violation risk factors.

NERC proposes to assign a “lower,” “medium,” or “high” violation risk factor to each requirement of each mandatory Reliability Standard. A “high” violation risk factor violation could conceivably cause or contribute to bulk-power system instability or cascading failures, according to FERC.

A “medium” violation risk factor violation, while unlikely to cause or contribute to bulk-power system instability or cascading failures, could, however, directly affect the electrical state, capability, monitoring and control of the bulk-power system. A “lower” violation risk factor violation is considered administrative in nature where a violation would not be expected to affect the reliability of the bulk-power system.

FERC employed five guidelines for evaluating the validity of each violation risk factor assignment. The first guideline assessed the violation risk factor’s consistency with the conclusions of the final blackout report on the August 14, 2003 blackout which affected nearly 50 million people in the United States and Canada.

FERC also evaluated the violation risk factors assignment for consistency within and among reliability standards and consistency with NERC’s definition of the violation risk factor level.


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