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NERC Gives Its Standards Development a Power Boost

Muddassir Katchi May 17, 2013 1
NERC Gives Its Standards Development a Power Boost

Electrical power. Nothing in our society today is more powerful or more transforming than electrical power. Its impact on daily living, as we know it, is beyond estimating, not because it can’t be quantified (it can), but because it’s so pervasive and so much of modern life depends on it. One only needs to remember the widespread power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy to appreciate the value of electrical power—or realize the tragedy of its absence.

Such is the importance of electrical power that extraordinary measures are being carried out to ensure the reliability and adequacy of its supply to industry and to public consumers. To this end, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the bulk-power watchdog and electric reliability organization (ERO), announced at its August 2012 meeting its plan to reexamine and improve its overall standards model. Thus ensuring that it delivers technically excellent reliability standards and that these are developed efficiently to meet regulatory obligations.

NERC has already taken concrete steps toward that goal. Early this year, it reported implementing important organizational changes to bolster its standards development, among them leadership and staff changes. For instance, its vice president and director of Reliability Assessments and Performance Analysis, Mark Lauby, has been assigned to the Standards department as its new vice president and director. The Standards staff, for its part, has been repurposed: from 60 percent process-focused to 80 percent, at least, production-focused.

NERC has also recruited new talents from the industry to create a base of technical experience and expertise. Its Standards department, for instance, has a trio of new standards developers to support the teams involved in standards development.

Among NERC’s other stated objectives to achieve world-class standards development are:

  • Better, enhanced Standards Committee management of process and workflow to enable the timely production of high-quality reliability standards.
  • Changes to the Standards Committee structure, management, and scope to ensure improved Standards Committee and standards-development team accountability.
  • Enabling standards drafting teams with a cadre of subject-matter experts with competencies in drafting, legal, technical, compliance, and project management.

Last February, NERC formally proposed revisions to its Standard Processes Manual (SPM), a compilation of the procedures that guide NERC’s development of mandatory reliability standards. Industry stakeholders contributed comprehensively to the revision of the SPM.

LKItraining contributes to the assurance of a reliable national power supply by offering a comprehensive suite of 1,300 training programs, such as its Reliability Coordinator Operator Certification Exam Preparation, for the distribution, generation, safety, and transmission sectors of the power industry.

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