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Maintaining the reliability of the bulk power system (BPS) is necessary to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public. Texas RE’s staff works collaboratively with industry professionals to help ensure the security of the interconnected Bulk Electric System (BES) through effective and efficient compliance monitoring and enforcement.

Compliance with NERC Reliability Standards will be assessed through various compliance monitoring tools.

Texas RE strongly encourages self-reporting of noncompliance and the development of responsive mitigation plans.

The goal of the Texas RE Risk Assessment group is to identify the risks that each entity poses to the bulk power system and develop a compliance oversight approach that focuses on those risks. To accomplish this, Texas RE uses several tools to assess risk and develop a “right-sized” approach for compliance monitoring and enforcement.

Inherent Risk Assessments (IRA) of registered entities identify areas of significant risk. An IRA considers risk factors such as generation and transmission assets, geography, interconnectivity, and unique entity composition. The IRA process is the primary tool that Texas RE uses to generate an engagement scope – that is, the list of NERC Reliability Standards and Requirements to be evaluated during an Audit, Self-Certification, or Spot Check. Texas RE also performs IRAs where there are changes to a registered entity, significant changes to reliability risk, or the emergence of new risk.

Internal Controls Evaluations (ICE) help registered entities understand and develop their controls. The ICE is a voluntary process; Texas RE encourages entities to participate so that they can reduce their reliability risk, enhance the effectiveness of their compliance operations, and ultimately reduce their regulatory burden.

Finally, Texas RE develops a Compliance Oversight Plan (COP) for each entity based on its inherent risks and internal controls. A COP considers entity performance such as compliance history, events, and misoperations, integrating this data into an overall evaluation of the entity’s risks. Based on this assessment, Texas RE determines the number of years between engagements, as well as the compliance tools to be considered for use. As a longer range, strategic overview of the entity’s risks, a COP is not associated with any particular engagement. Instead, it is designed to be valid for multiple engagement cycles and guides the scheduling of compliance oversight activities.

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Risk-Based CMEP Framework
Risk Assessment General Entity Information
ERO Risk Factors and Texas RE Deviations

A list of NERC Reliability Standards is available on the NERC website. Texas RE recommends that you refer to the Texas RE specific appendix in the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP) Implementation Plan located under "Compliance" here for a description of how compliance monitoring engagements will be approached in the Texas RE Region.

To assist Texas RE in determining how much risk an entity poses to reliability, the ERO Enterprise has identified a number of aspects that point to activities, behaviors, and qualities that will define the extent to which compliance monitoring is applied.

Compliance Audit and Spot Check

Compliance Auditing and Spot Checks are two tools used by Texas RE for compliance monitoring. Entities registered with NERC are subject to Compliance Audit and/or Spot Check for compliance with the NERC Reliability Standards that apply to the functions for which the entity is registered.

Texas RE notifies entities of upcoming engagements by no later than the appropriate time frame called for in the Rules of Procedure. For information on what to expect, see the General Information Briefing and General Engagement Plan Briefing. Cyber Security Data Submittal Guidance is available to assist in engagements containing CIP requirements.

Texas RE uses Reliability Standards Audit Worksheets (RSAWs) as an audit tool. Below is a list of RSAWs by NERC functions.

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Self-Certification

Texas RE uses Self-Certification by registered entities to affirm that those entities meet requirements of applicable NERC Reliability Standards as determined through a risk-based approach.

Self-Certifications are conducted for areas in which risk has been identified. The results and information gathered during Self-Certifications will help provide Texas RE with reasonable assurance that compliance obligations are being met to support reliability.

The process requires a registered entity to perform and document specific tasks during the execution of the Self-Certification. The registered entity will certify its compliant status with the NERC Reliability Standard in question and is required to provide specific evidence to Texas RE to support conclusions. This process will help to establish reasonable assurance and may, in some cases, eliminate the need for the use of other traditional CMEP monitoring methods, such as a Compliance Audit of a specific NERC Reliability Standard.

In most cases, Texas RE will re-perform some of the work in order to verify the accuracy of the Self-Certifications conclusions. If issues surface during this review, Texas RE staff may conduct further communication with the registered entity.

NERC-registered entities will generally be notified of a Self-Certification about 90 days prior to the scheduled start date. Thirty days after notification is received, all associated Self-Certification form submissions will be due.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Texas RE Self-Certification.   If you are responsible for a Self-Certification, and you do not know if you have access to submit information associated with the Self-Certification, contact your organization’s Primary Compliance Contact (PCC). If you do not know who your PCC is, contact Texas RE Information.  

The Annual Audit Plan includes a list of registered entities scheduled for a Compliance Audit. In conformance with the NERC Rules of Procedure, the initial list includes Reliability Coordinators, Balancing Authorities, and Transmission Operators. Additionally, the Annual Audit Plan includes registered entities in the Coordinated Oversight Program that are scheduled for a Compliance Audit for which Texas RE has been the Lead Regional Entity. Although an entity may not be listed on the Annual Audit Plan, the risk-based compliance monitoring framework allows Texas RE the flexibility to determine if entities may go through any type of compliance engagement (e.g. Spot Check, Compliance Audit). The scope and type of engagement are direct results of Inherent Risk Assessments (IRAs) completed for each registered entity. Texas RE will provide adequate notice of the specific dates of any scheduled engagement prior to its commencement, in accordance with the NERC Rules of Procedure, Appendix 4C.

This approach provides for consistent treatment of all registered entities regarding the engagement tool notification time frame and allows for more flexibility to manage risk-based processes, both for registered entities and the Regional Entity.

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​​Texas RE analyzes submitted complaints for compliance with NERC Reliability Standards. Complaint analysis may lead to an investigation.

Complaint Analysis

Submitted complaints are analyzed for compliance with NERC Reliability Standards and may lead to further compliance processes (e.g., Spot Check). Texas RE will review the evidence produced by the complainant and by the entity to determine if any further action is necessary.

Submit a Complaint

Alleged violations of NERC Reliability Standards may be reported by emailing a complaint form to Texas RE Complaint or via the Ethics and Compliance Hotline site, which allows anonymous and confidential reporting. A complaint may also be filed utilizing the NERC Compliance Hotline Form.

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Data Submittal

Through scheduled data submissions from registered entities, Texas RE monitors and reports the performance metrics for ERCOT region compliance with certain NERC Reliability Standards. The 2019 ERO Enterprise Periodic Data Submittals Schedule and the 2018 Consolidated ERO Enterprise Periodic Data Submittals Schedule are posted on the NERC website to provide registered entities a consistent periodic data submittal schedule throughout the ERO Enterprise by eliminating the regional schedule variations.

Misoperations Reporting

​​The NERC ERO Reliability Assessment and Performance Analysis (ERO-RAPA) group reviews protection and control system misoperations that are associated with a significant percentage of BES disturbances. Reducing the risk to reliability from relay and control system misoperations requires consistent collection of misoperation information by Regional Entities, along with systematic analysis and correction of the underlying causes of preventable misoperations.

NERC Reliability Standard PRC-004-5(i) requires Transmission Owners, Generator Owners, and Distribution Providers to analyze Protection System misoperations, and to develop and implement Corrective Action Plans.

With the implementation of PRC-004-5(i), reporting of Protection System misoperations is covered by a Section 1600 data request. The NERC Misoperation Information Data Analysis System (MIDAS) is the portal for registered entities to upload Protection System misoperation data to NERC and the Regional Entities.

A reporting template is posted on the NERC website.

MIDAS submission schedule:

Reporting Quarter  MIDAS Report Submission Period   
Q1April 1 - May 30
Q2July 1 - August 29
Q3October 1 - November 29
Q4January 1 - March 1

PRC-002-2

PRC-002-2 R12, enforceable October 1, 2016, requires that Transmission Owners and Generator Owners shall, within 90 calendar days of the discovery of a failure of the recording capability for any Sequence Event Recording (SER), Fault Recording (FR), or Dynamic Disturbance Recording, (DDR) data either:

  • Restore the recording capability, or
  • Submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to the Regional Entity and implement it.

To facilitate uniformity in the submission process, Texas RE has created a form for submission of Corrective Action Plans to Texas RE Compliance. This form will be kept on file at Texas RE, however the registered entity will still be required to maintain all relevant evidence, including the CAP, per M12. Please note that no CAP submission is necessary if recording capability is restored within 90 calendar days. If it is determined that the recording capability cannot be restored within the 90 calendar days, submission of CAP must be made within 90 calendar days of discovery.

If a registered entity identifies a need to submit a Corrective Action Plan to Texas RE, please send notification to Texas RE at Texas RE Compliance. Upon receiving notification from the registered entity, Texas RE will work with the registered entity to accommodate submission of the Corrective Action Plan through Texas RE’s Extranet site.

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EOP-008-2

EOP-008-2 R8 requires Reliability Coordinators, Balancing Authorities, and Transmission Operators that have experienced a loss of its primary or backup functionality and that anticipate that the loss of primary or backup functionality will last for more than six calendar months to provide a plan to its Regional Entity within six calendar months of the date when the functionality is lost, showing how it will re-establish primary or backup functionality.

To facilitate uniformity in the submission process, Texas RE has created the form posted below for submission of plans to Texas RE Compliance. This form will be kept on file at Texas RE.

If a registered entity identifies a need to submit a plan to Texas RE, please send notification to Texas RE at Texas RE Compliance. Upon receiving notification from the registered entity, Texas RE will work with the registered entity to accommodate submission of the plan through Texas RE’s Extranet site.

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FAC-003-4, PRC-016-1, and PRC-023-4 Periodic Data Submittals

Texas RE requests Period Data Submittals from applicable entities for FAC-003-4, PRC-016-1, and PRC-023-4 in accordance with the ERO Periodic Data Submittal Schedule. The data submittal forms utilized by Texas RE for these Periodic Data Submittals are included below.

For applicable registered entities that do not own Facilities applicable to the Reliability Standards and Requirements subject to the Periodic Data Submittal requests, Texas RE accepts one-time attestations. Registered entities that provide one-time attestations will not receive data submittal requests for these Reliability Standards and Requirements unless warranted by facts and circumstances. However, if conditions change that impact the registered entity’s applicability to a Reliability Standard and Requirement subject to a Periodic Data Submittal for which a one-time attestation has been submitted, it is expected that the registered entity notify Texas RE Compliance of the change so the registered entity can begin meeting the reporting requirements for the applicable Reliability Standard and Requirement. The one-time attestation forms for these Reliability Standards and Requirements are included below.

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​​Many of the CIP V5 Standards and Requirements became effective on July 1, 2016. Full details on the CIP V5 transition can be found on the NERC CIP V5 Transition Program page, or on Texas RE's CIP Transition page.

The Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise utilizes multiple processes for reviewing events and disturbances. The Event Analysis Process (EAP) is performed by Texas RE Reliability Services staff and is intended to analyze the facts from an event and determine its root cause.

As part of a separate process, the Texas RE Compliance Monitoring team performs a Regional Compliance Evaluation (RCE) by reviewing the same event, but through the lens of compliance with NERC Reliability Standards. The RCE does not begin until the EAP has been completed by Texas RE Reliability Services. The RCE is conducted by analyzing information provided by a registered entity such as: Brief Reports, Event Analysis Reports, responses to Requests for Information (RFIs), and Compliance Assessments.

The Risk-based Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement section and Appendix B of the 2019 ERO Enterprise Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP) Implementation Plan (Version 2.1, November 2018) provides the compliance assessment process that registered entities are to follow when involved in events and disturbances. Appendix B also includes a sample Compliance Assessment Report template that registered entities may use when completing a Compliance Assessment (CA). The template follows the Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion (IRAC) approach.

When identifying applicable NERC Reliability Standards and Requirements to assess, registered entities should start by reviewing the NERC Reliability Standards that apply to their registered functions and then determine if any of those NERC Reliability Standards applied to the event in question. A registered entity may use the IRAC Template to create the CA report. Once the report is completed, submit the report along with associated documents (Event Analysis Report, Brief Report, Lessons Learned, etc.) to Texas RE Event Compliance.

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