Regulatory Discretion During COVID-19 Outbreak Update

by Banna Underland | Mar 26, 2020
SERC provides additional instruction and guidance on this topic.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) announced they are taking steps to ensure that operators of the bulk electric system can focus their resources on keeping people safe and the lights on during this unprecedented public health emergency.

As such, FERC and NERC are using regulatory discretion to advise all registered entities that they will consider the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in complying with Reliability Standards to include:

  • Personnel Certification: The effects of the coronavirus will be considered an acceptable basis for non-compliance with obtaining and maintaining personnel certification, as required in Reliability Standard PER-003-2, for the period of March 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
  • Standards Involving Periodic Actions: The effects of the coronavirus will be considered an acceptable reason for case-by-case non-compliance with Reliability Standard requirements involving periodic actions that would have been taken between March 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020. Examples include timing requirement under PRC-005-6 and CIP-007-6 R2.

Entity Instructions

  • As indicated in last week’s update, your SERC single-point-of-contact (SPOC) remains your main interface for compliance issues. SERC Senior CIP Compliance Specialist Rick Dodd is also available as a resource.
  • Use the COVID-19 Impact Notification Form to notify SERC of an issue pertaining to delay in completing compliance activities due to COVID-19. Complete and submit the form to with a copy to your SPOC. Be sure to retain copies of notifications and file them accordingly to have available if a subsequent Monitoring activity dictates the need.
  • A COVID-19 Impact Webinar will be conducted on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (Eastern).

    The webinar’s target audience is Primary and Alternate Compliance Contacts within the SERC Region. The webinar will address submittal of the COVID-19 Impact Notification forms and related questions. SERC will send WebEx logon information to all Primary and Alternate Compliance Contacts in the SERC Region on the morning of the event. The Webinar will be recorded and available upon request to Primary and Alternate Compliance Contacts of SERC registered entities. Questions you would like addressed during the webinar may be submitted using the Q&A Form on the SERC website.

We will maintain situation awareness about the spread of COVID-19 and its future impacts. The most current information will be featured on the SERC homepage news feed, and will be communicated via social media and email to keep stakeholders informed.

Thank you for your dedication to ensure the health and safety of your employees, your communities, and the continued reliability and security of the SERC Region.