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Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur Statement
September 17, 2015
Docket No. RM15-25-000
Item No. E-3 PDF
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Statement of Commissioner Cheryl A. LaFleur on FERC Access to NERC Data

“Today’s order proposes to revise the Commission’s regulations to provide the Commission and its staff with access, on a non-public and ongoing basis, to three databases maintained by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC): (1) the Transmission Availability Data System (TADS), (2) the Generating Availability Data System (GADS), and (3) the protection system misoperations database. As explained in the order, the Commission concludes that access to these databases would support its work under section 215(d)(5) of the Federal Power Act (FPA) to monitor reliability trends and issues that may warrant the development of new or modified reliability standards.

“On rare occasions, the Commission has exercised its authority to direct NERC to develop new standards to address reliability risks not covered in existing standards, such as geomagnetic disturbances and physical security. While I do not expect the Commission to frequently invoke that authority going forward, I agree that the information in these databases would assist the Commission with its responsibilities under section 215(d)(5), as well as its understanding of NERC’s assessments under section 215(g). Access to these databases could therefore support the Commission’s oversight of several steps of the reliability cycle, including event analysis, establishment of metrics, setting reliability priorities, and improving the standards development and review process.

“I recognize, however, that under section 215 of the FPA, NERC and the Commission have a unique relationship, since Congress vested a significant amount of authority over the standards process in the Electric Reliability Organization (i.e., NERC) and clearly prescribed the Commission’s oversight role. It is important that we recognize the distinction between that oversight role and NERC’s primary responsibility to monitor reliability issues and propose standards to address them. Ultimately, I believe our efforts to sustain and improve the reliability of the bulk electric system are furthered by mutual trust and shared priorities between the Commission and NERC.

“I understand that today’s proposal might be controversial within the NERC community. I therefore welcome comment on the proposal, including any potential issues or concerns not identified in the NOPR, to provide a full record for the Commission to consider in deciding whether to proceed to a final rule.

“Accordingly, I respectfully concur.”