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Texas RE Enforcement is responsible for resolving all issues pertaining to the 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 uses a number of methods for resolving noncompliance issues depending upon the particular facts and circumstances, as well as the degree of risk the issue poses to the Bulk Electric System. Enforcement staff also ensures that any noncompliance issues are properly mitigated to address the reliability risk and prevent future recurrences.

Possible NERC Reliability Standard noncompliance issues may be identified by registered entities through self-reports or as part of a self-certification or periodic data submission. NERC Reliability Standard noncompliance 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.

Texas RE strongly encourages NERC registered entities to self-report possible noncompliance. If a registered entity identifies possible noncompliance 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 noncompliance to Texas RE via webCDMS. 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.

Anyone may anonymously and confidentially report possible noncompliance by a NERC registered entity on the Ethics and Compliance Hotline site or by calling (888) 242-6340.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact enforcement@texasre.org.

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, a registered entity should complete the Self-Logging Program Participation Request, attach any relevant documents regarding the entity’s internal controls that 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 the registered entity regarding any additional information that may be needed in order to complete the review process. Texas RE will then begin the process of evaluating whether the registered entity is eligible to self-log after all the necessary information has been received. Following completion of Texas RE’s evaluation, Texas RE will provide a written notice regarding whether the registered entity qualifies for self-logging and an explanation of the factors affecting Texas RE’s determination. Note that Texas RE may limit a registered entity’s self-logging activities to certain categories of Reliability Standards or identified Reliability Standard requirements.

Documents

All instances of noncompliance with a NERC Reliability Standard require the submission of appropriate mitigating activities 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 a registered entity intends to submit a Mitigation Plan, the entity should develop comprehensive, effective, and ultimately approvable Mitigation Plan(s). Enforcement staff will gladly provide individual feedback to a registered entity regarding the proposed plan prior to its submission. To take advantage of this option, please elect to SAVE, rather than SUBMIT, a Mitigation Plan for the possible noncompliance 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 negotiations with Texas RE at any time up to the point when a violation is filed with NERC. Settlement requests are made through webCDMS. Once a registered entity requests settlement, Texas RE confirms settlement discussions via webCDMS.

An entity registered with NERC may choose to contest a finding of Alleged Violation, a proposed penalty or sanction, a proposed Mitigation Plan, or a proposed Remedial Action Directive, in accordance with the NERC Rules of Procedure, Appendix 4C, Attachment 2.

A list of all posted noncompliance records pertaining to the NERC Reliability Standards is available at NERC Enforcement and Mitigation.

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