FERC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for NERC Standard on Geomagnetic Disturbances


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On January 16, 2014, the FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to approve NERC Reliability Standard EOP-010-1. The proposed standard is the first step in implementing Order No. 779, where the Commission directed NERC to develop reliability standards aimed at mitigating the effects of geomagnetic disturbances (“GMDs”) on the Bulk-Power System. GMDs occur when solar storms on the surface of the sun propel electrically charged particles towards the Earth’s magnetic field. These disturbances send geomagnetically induced currents through transmission lines, which could possibly reduce system voltage and potentially cause widespread outages. Comments on the proposed standard must be filed with FERC by March 24, 2014.

The proposed standard would apply to registered Reliability Coordinators and Transmission Operators that have a Transmission Operator Area that includes a power transformer with a high side wye-grounded winding with terminal voltage greater than 200kV. As proposed, the standard would require responsible entities to implement Operating Plans and Operating Procedures, including compliance with three requirements.

Requirement R1 requires Reliability Coordinators to develop a GMD Operating Plan that coordinates the GMD Operating Procedures or Operating Processes within the Reliability Coordinator Area. The Reliability Coordinators would also be required to describe the actions they need to take in to mitigate the effects of a GMD event.

Requirement R2 requires Reliability Coordinators to disseminate space weather information to ensure coordination and awareness of possible GMD events in the Reliability Coordinators Area. Requirement R2 replaces existing Requirement R3 of Reliability Standard IRO-005-3.1a.

Requirement R3 requires Transmission Operators to develop GMD Operating Procedures or Processes that address GMD events. This requirement would allow entities to tailor their procedures based on the responsible entity’s assessment of entity-specific factors, such as geography. R3 requires each Transmission Operator to specify: (1) the steps necessary to receive space weather information; (2) what actions must be taken under which conditions; and (3) under what conditions entities would exit the GMD Operating Procedures.

If you have questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this article, please contact us.

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