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Texas RE Enforcement is responsible for resolving all violations of NERC Reliability Standards in a fair, accurate, reasonable, and consistent manner. Not all instances of noncompliance with NERC Reliability Standards require the same type of processing and documentation. Texas RE possesses a number of methods for resolving noncompliance issues depending upon the particular facts and circumstances, as well as the degree of risk to the Bulk Electric System posed by an issue. For all issues, Enforcement staff will also ensure that the noncompliance issues are properly mitigated to address the reliability risk and prevent future recurrences.

Possible NERC Reliability Standard issues may be identified by registered entities through self-reports or as part of a self-certification or periodic data submission. NERC Reliability Standard issues may also be discovered by Texas RE during an audit or spot check, or during the course of a compliance violation investigation. For more information, see NERC Enforcement and Mitigation and the NERC Sanction Guidelines.

If an entity registered with NERC identifies a possible violation of a NERC Reliability Standard applicable to its registered function(s) during a self-assessment or other internal review, that entity should self-report the possible violation to Texas RE via webCDMS. Texas RE strongly encourages registered entities to self-report possible violations. To encourage a strong compliance culture, Texas RE considers such self-reports to be a mitigating factor in its determination of the appropriate penalty or sanction.

For information regarding the format, contents, and process for submitting self-reports, please refer to the ERO Self-Report User Guide and Texas RE Self-Report Template.

An employee of a registered entity may anonymously and confidentially report a possible violation on the Ethics and Compliance Hotline site or by calling (888) 242-6340.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Texas RE Self-Reporting.

The self-logging program permits registered entities that possess sufficient internal controls to maintain a self-logging spreadsheet for eligible minimal risk noncompliance issues. The registered entity typically submits its noncompliance logs to Texas RE at least once every three months. There is a presumption that these self-logged minimal risk noncompliance issues will be resolved as Compliance Exceptions.

To determine a registered entity’s eligibility to self-log, Texas RE conducts a formal review of the registered entity’s internal controls. To participate in the self-logging program, the registered entity must demonstrate that it has sufficiently institutionalized processes in place to identify, assess, and correct operational risks to reliability. The details regarding the evaluation process for these internal controls are described in the ERO Enterprise Self-Logging Program Document.

To be evaluated for self-logging, please complete the Self-Logging Program Participation Request, attach any relevant documents regarding your internal controls you believe Texas RE should consider in its formal evaluation, and send an email to Texas RE Enforcement with the subject line “Request for Evaluation – [Registered Entity Name].” Upon receiving the request, Texas RE will contact you regarding any additional information we may need to complete our review. Once Texas RE receives all the necessary information, we will begin the process of evaluating whether your registered entity is eligible to self-log. Following completion of our evaluation, Texas RE will provide you with a written notice regarding whether your registered entity qualifies for self-logging and an explanation of the factors affecting Texas RE’s determination. Texas RE may also limit your registered entity’s self-logging activities to certain categories of Reliability Standards or identified Reliability Standard requirements.

Documents

All noncompliance instances with a NERC Reliability Standard require appropriate mitigating activities be submitted for evaluation and acceptance by Texas RE and NERC. To demonstrate appropriate mitigation, registered entities either file a formal Mitigation Plan or a description of the mitigation actions taken to remediate the issue and prevent recurrence.

Mitigation Plans should be completed and submitted in webCDMS. If you intend to submit a Mitigation Plan, Texas RE encourages you to develop comprehensive, effective, and ultimately approvable Mitigation Plans. Enforcement staff will gladly provide individual feedback to you regarding your proposed plan prior to its submission, and Texas RE encourages you to take advantage of this by opting to SAVE, rather than SUBMIT, a Mitigation Plan for the possible violation listed above through webCDMS.

For detailed information regarding the process for developing and submitting formal Mitigation Plans, as well as Texas RE’s review of such plans, please refer to the Mitigation Plan section in the NERC Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP) as well as the ERO Enterprise Mitigation Plan Guide.

A registered entity may request settlement at any time after receiving a Notice of Possible Violation (NPV) or a Notice of Alleged Violation (NAV). The option to settle with Texas RE is always available during the processes and procedures described in the NERC CMEP.

Settlement requests are made through webCDMS. Once an entity requests settlement, Texas RE confirms settlement discussions via webCDMS.

An entity registered with NERC may choose to contest a finding of alleged violation, proposed penalty or sanction, proposed mitigation plan, or a proposed Remedial Action Directive, in accordance with Attachment 2 of the NERC CMEP.

A list of all posted violations of the NERC Reliability Standards can be found at NERC Enforcement and Mitigation. NERC has conducted a webinar on how to analyze this data, and the presentation is available here.

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