Background - Practices (Details)

NERC - Electric Reliability


Crowell & Moring’s Energy Group advises on all aspects of our clients’ compliance with the mandatory reliability standards enforced by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), including counseling on the impact of and risks associated with reliability standard compliance and enforcement in transactions and other commercial agreements, content and operation of internal compliance programs, NERC registration, audit preparation, violations of the reliability standards, self-reports and mitigation plans, NERC or regional entity inquiries; and settlement negotiations. Our clients include owners and operators of electric generation and transmission facilities, as well a third-parties that provide NERC-related services to owners of electric generation and transmission facilities.

Services & Representative Engagements: NERC-Electric Reliability

  • NERC Services and Risk Allocation in Commercial Agreements. Advised clients on risk allocation with respect to compliance with and enforcement of the NERC reliability standards in a variety of commercial transactions, including asset management and O&M agreements, and prepared agreements for the provision of NERC-related services by or the delegation of NERC responsibility to a third party, such as an O&M provider.
  • NERC Audit or Compliance Monitoring Preparation. Advised on and assisted clients in preparation for NERC audits, and other of NERC’s compliance monitoring process such as self-certification, including reviewing evidence used to demonstrate compliance to determine legal sufficiency.
  • Potential or Actual Violations. Represented clients in connection with violations of NERC electric reliability standards, including (i) advising on steps to take if a possible violation is identified; (ii) designing or advising on the scope of internal investigation undertaken to determine if an identified issue would constitute a violation and the extent of noncompliance; (iii) counseling on whether and when to self-report the potential violation; (iv) advising on or preparing root cause analyses, including use of the “5-Why” methodology of root cause analysis; (v) preparing mitigation plans; (vi) responding to inquiries from the enforcement staffs of NERC’s regional entities in connection with self-reports and mitigation plans; and (vii) negotiating settlements of potential violations of electric reliability standards with regional entities and NERC, and in each case, successfully resulting in a substantial reduction in penalties that the regional entities had intended to impose.
  • Internal Compliance Programs and Training. Assessed internal compliance programs for ensuring compliance with NERC’s electric reliability standards, recommended improvements; responded to regional entity inquiries regarding internal compliance programs; trained senior management on NERC compliance, including risk exposure and measures to ensure compliance and mitigate violations.
  • Registration Challenges. Represented New Harquahala Generating Company in the first case in which a generator appealed its registration as a NERC Transmission Owner and Transmission Operator due solely to its ownership and operation of generator interconnection facilities, and challenged the registration of Constellation Energy Commodities Group as a Generator Operator based on its purchase of electricity from a generator.