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News Release: September 15, 2011
Docket Nos. RM11-11-000, RM10-29-000, RM10-6-000

FERC takes steps to support continued reliability of electric grid

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took steps to support continued transmission system reliability by proposing revisions to eight critical infrastructure protection reliability standards that include a new method of identifying cyber assets that are critical to the nation’s bulk power grid.

The proposed “Version 4” CIP standards are an interim step, FERC said in directing the electric industry and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) to continue developing a comprehensive approach to assure the grid can withstand a cyber security incident. NERC is the Commission-certified electric reliability organization responsible for developing and enforcing mandatory reliability standards.

The new standard would replace the existing risk-based assessment methodology for identifying critical assets with 17 uniform “bright line” criteria, making the process more consistent and clear by limiting discretion in the identification of such assets.

Today’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) stressed that NERC has not addressed all the modifications directed by the Commission’s Order No. 706, which approved the original CIP standards in January 2008. The NOPR would require NERC to make a filing to fully comply with Order No. 706 by the end of the third quarter of 2012. Comments on the proposed rule (RM11-11) are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

In other reliability orders, FERC issued final rules approving NERC’s interpretation of:

  • Transmission Operations Reliability Standard TOP-001-1 on the restoration of real and reactive power during a system emergency (RM10-29). The final rule agreed with NERC’s view that the balancing authority is responsible for restoring real power balance and the transmission provider is responsible for restoring reactive balance during a system emergency.

  • Transmission Planning Reliability Standard TPL-002-0 addressing system performance following loss of a single bulk electric system element (RM10-6).