Winter Weather Standard Update

By Shaun Rohret, Senior NERC Reliability Specialist

As another winter arrives, there is still a lot of activity at NERC based around Extreme Cold Weather Grid Operations, Preparedness and Coordination. Here is an update based on information provided on the NERC website:

New and Updated Standards

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released another order regarding reliability standards addressing emergency operations and extreme cold weather. It is a progression of the previous standards. The new standards, EOP-011-3 (Emergency Operations) and EOP-012-1 (Extreme Cold Weather Preparedness and Operations), are associated with the existing EOP-011-2 Reliability Standard. EOP-011-3 will remove requirements (R7 and R8). EOP-012-1 incorporates the language from R7 and R8 of EOP 11-2 into requirements R3 & R5. Some changes were made to address extreme weather.

The 2023 FERC Order

On February 16, 2023, FERC approved these standards. However, the effective date for EOP-011-3 (and the proposed retirement of EOP-011-2) is deferred until the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) submits a revised applicability section for EOP-012. FERC aims to ensure that all bulk electric system generating units maintain cold weather preparedness plans. As a result, EOP-011-2 will remain in effect until a satisfactory version of EOP-012 is approved, after which EOP-011-3 will take effect. Interestingly, the current version of EOP-012-1 will never go into effect; its effective date is approved for October 1, 2024, but portions of the standard, its applicability, and implementation plan will be revised before that date.

FERC Directed Changes

FERC found that EOP-012-1, as currently written, has undefined terms, broad limitations, exceptions, and prolonged compliance periods. They directed NERC to modify multiple portions of EOP-012-1, including its applicability and implementation plan. FERC asked for changes to the 60-month phase-in period for existing units found in R2. They directed NERC to shorten the time-period.

In summary, FERC’s recent order aims to enhance reliability during emergency operations and extreme cold weather, while ensuring clarity and effectiveness in the standards. A new version of the standard should be released in 2024. Be prepared to make changes in the upcoming year to stay compliant. NAES NERC will provide updates once the changes are finalized.