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Texas RE is authorized by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and is permitted by NERC to investigate compliance with ERCOT Protocols and Operating Guides.

As the PUCT’s Reliability Monitor for the ERCOT region, Texas RE:

  • Monitors compliance with the reliability-related provisions of the Public Utility Regulatory Act, ERCOT Protocols, and ERCOT Operating Guides by ERCOT Market Entities;
  • Initiates investigations based on monitoring activities;
  • Investigates complaints and self-reported violations; and
  • Investigates ERCOT reliability-related events and prepares reports.

Texas RE also assists and supports PUCT enforcement activities by:

  • Documenting and reporting potential compliance violations;
  • Reviewing and analyzing remedial actions taken by Market Entities to address potential compliance violations; and
  • Providing technical expertise and advice, including testimony services, in support of PUCT staff’s case in administrative penalty proceedings.

Texas RE uses separate personnel to perform Protocol Compliance activities than the personnel it uses to perform NERC Reliability Standards compliance and enforcement activities. Protocol Compliance activities are performed by Texas RE's Protocol Compliance Department.

For questions regarding Protocol Compliance, please contact Texas RE Protocol. 

Audits

Audits may cover a variety of areas addressed by reliability-related requirements in the ERCOT Protocols and Operating Guides. Audit Scope periods are established at the time the Market Entity being audited is notified of the audit.

Audits may be “table top” audits conducted at Texas RE offices or “on-site” audits at the entity’s location, or may use a combination of the two techniques. During the table top part of the audit, the entity’s attendance is not required; however, subject matter experts must be available upon reasonable notice via teleconference and email to respond to inquiries by the audit team.

Approximately 105 days prior to the audit start date, Texas RE will send an email notifying the entity of the audit date. Approximately 90 calendar days prior to the audit start date, the entity will receive a Protocol Audit Notification Package containing details about the audit including the audit questionnaire(s). The entity must submit the completed Protocol Audit Submittal Package 45 calendar days prior to the audit start date. Texas RE may request additional information or issue additional data requests prior to the audit start date. Additional data requests may be required during the course of the audit.

Upon completion of the audit, Texas RE issues a Protocol Audit Report and reports possible violations to PUCT for appropriate enforcement action.

The Protocol and Operating Guide audits utilize questionnaires that are tailored to the function(s) performed by the entity, such as Resource Entity, Qualified Scheduling Entity, and Transmission and/or Distribution Service Provider. Sample questionnaires are posted to the Texas RE website below.

Spot Checks

Protocol Compliance also conducts limited scope audits, which are referred to as Spot Checks. The notification and response times are usually shorter than those for a broader scope audit, and are determined based on the number of requirements included in the Spot Check. Spot Checks do not ordinarily include site visits.

Please contact Texas RE Protocol with questions regarding the Protocol Audit Program.

Documents

Sample Document Submittal List
Sample Questionnaire for Transmission and|or Distribution Service Provider
Sample Submittal Package Instructions
Sample Questionnaire for Resource Entities
Sample Questionnaire for Qualified Scheduling Entities

Protocol Complaints may be submitted to Texas RE to report alleged violations of reliability-related ERCOT Protocols or Operating Guides by ERCOT Market Entities. Complaints may be filed by any Market Entity who alleges a violation.

Texas RE Protocol Compliance Department staff reviews the complaint and supporting evidence provided by the complainant to determine if a possible violation may exist. Texas RE may request additional information from the complainant that would assist in Texas RE's analysis.

If the complaint and supporting information indicate a possible violation may have occurred, Texas RE will send a Notice of Investigation, which will include a request for additional information, to the Market Entity that is the subject of the complaint. A Mitigation Plan may also be requested. Following review, Texas RE will submit the results of its investigation and supporting documentation to the PUCT for further review and possible enforcement action.

Protocol Complaints are not submitted through webCDMS. Protocol Complaints are submitted using the Texas RE Complaint Form and emailed to Texas RE Protocol.

Documents

Protocol Compliance Complaint Form

The PUCT is responsible for enforcement actions related to violations of ERCOT Protocols and Operating Guides. Texas RE Protocol Compliance Department personnel provide technical support for PUCT enforcement actions, which may include testimony services.

In cases where the Protocol possible violation is also the subject of possible NERC compliance activities, Texas RE will not disclose any non-public information about the NERC compliance activities to PUCT due to confidentiality requirements. However, the entity may authorize Texas RE to share with PUCT information about NERC compliance activities, or may choose to share information about the NERC compliance activities with PUCT staff so that the PUCT may consider it in the Protocol enforcement action.

The Texas RE Protocol Compliance Department conducts investigations of significant events on the ERCOT system, such as Energy Emergency Alerts (EEA). The Protocol Compliance Department may issue data requests to entities to obtain information regarding the Market Participant's performance and compliance with reliability-related ERCOT requirements. Compliance analysis may lead to formal investigations and identification of possible violations.

Following review, Texas RE submits the results of the investigation and supporting documentation to the PUCT for further review and possible enforcement action.

Documents

Protocol and Operating Guide Compliance Report - Feb. 2, 2011 - Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 Event
Protocol Compliance Report - October 8, 2014 - Load Shed Event

A Protocol Mitigation Plan should be prepared by a Market Entity who has self-reported a possible violation of an ERCOT reliability-related requirement or in response to a request from Texas RE. The Mitigation Plan provides an explanation of the following:

  • Description of the possible violation;
  • Cause of the possible non-compliance;
  • Detailed plan to correct the possible non-compliance and prevent recurrence;
  • Milestone schedule, if needed;
  • Expected completion date; and
  • Name of contact person.

Protocol Mitigation Plans are submitted using the Protocol Mitigation Plan Form and emailed to Texas RE Protocol. Protocol Mitigation Plans are not submitted through webCDMS.

Documents

Protocol Compliance Mitigation Plan

The Texas RE Protocol Compliance Department monitors compliance of ERCOT Market Participants with the ERCOT Protocols, including performance metrics described in Section 8 of the Protocols. Review of ERCOT reports and operational data may lead the Protocol Compliance Department to issue data requests to entities to obtain further information regarding the Market Participant’s performance and compliance with reliability-related ERCOT requirements. Compliance analysis may lead to formal investigations and identification of possible violations.

Following review, Texas RE submits the results of the investigation and supporting documentation to the PUCT for further review and possible enforcement action.

If an ERCOT Market Participant identifies a possible violation of a reliability-related ERCOT Protocol or Operating Guide, that entity should self-report the possible violation to Texas RE. Market Participants demonstrate a positive compliance commitment by self-reporting possible violations of Protocols and Operating Guides.

Texas RE’s Protocol Compliance Department reviews Self-Reports and may request additional information and a Mitigation Plan from the Market Participant. Following review, Texas RE submits the Self-Report and supporting documentation to the PUCT for further review and possible enforcement action.

Protocol Self-Reports are submitted using the Protocol Self-Report Form and emailed to Texas RE Protocol. Protocol Self-Reports are not submitted through webCDMS.

Documents

Protocol Compliance Self Report
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