USA . BLACKOUTS
At its February meeting the NERC resolved on various measures to strengthen the reliability of the North American bulk electric system and increase public confidence in it. With the strong encouragement of the stakeholders committee and the approval of the FERC, the board undertook to obtain full compliance with all existing and future reliability standards, and promised to use all means available to achieve that end.
Specifically, the board resolved to:
• Receive and review information on violations of reliability standards
• Improve compliance with reliability standards
• Provide transparency to violations of reliability standards, while respecting the confidential nature of some information and the need for a fair and deliberate due process
• Work closely with FERC and other applicable federal, state, and provincial regulatory authorities to ensure that the public interest is met
The board also adopted the recommendations of the NERC steering group that investigated the 14 August blackout. These recommendations included:
• Specific actions to correct the deficiencies that led to the 14 August blackout
• Strategic initiatives to strengthen compliance with existing standards and to formally track completion of recommended actions from 14 August and other significant power system events
• Technical initiatives to prevent or mitigate the impacts of future cascading blackouts
It also approved the implementation of readiness audits for all control areas and reliability coordinators on a three-year cycle. The goal is to complete audits of the twenty largest control areas by 30 June, 2004, with industry and FERC participation. These efforts are already well under way. A schedule has been agreed to by the control areas to be audited and the regions provided a list of volunteer auditors; teams of auditors are now being assigned. NERC will seek feedback and suggestions to improve the process.