On Wednesday, March 18, FERC and NERC jointly announced that they were exercising their regulatory discretion to consider the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ability of operators of the bulk electric system to comply with the Reliability Standards.
Specifically, FERC and NERC announced:
- The effects of COVID-19 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. Registered entities should notify their Regional Entities and Reliability Coordinators when using system operator personnel that are not NERC-certified.
- The effects of COVID-19 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. Registered entities should notify their Regional Entities of any periodic actions that will be missed during this period.
- Regional Entities will postpone on-site audits, certifications and other on-site activities at least until July 31, 2020. Registered entities should communicate any resource impacts associated with remote activities to their Regional Entities.
The agencies indicated that they would continue to evaluate the situation to determine whether to extend these dates. Their stated goal was “to ensure all registered entities balance the concerns for the health and welfare of their workforce while staying focused on the mission of supplying power to consumers across North America.”
The facts, laws, and regulations regarding COVID-19 are developing rapidly. Since the date of publication, there may be new or additional information not referenced in this advisory. Please consult with your legal counsel for guidance.
DWT will continue to provide up-to-date insights and virtual events regarding COVID-19 concerns. Our most recent insights, as well as information about recorded and upcoming virtual events, are available at www.dwt.com/COVID-19.