The picture above depicts the overall approach to how the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise (NERC and the Regions) views efforts and expectations to provide an efficient, effective, and collaborative regulatory role. The focus for all stakeholders should be ensuring a highly reliable and secure BPS (the “why” we are here). As the ERO Enterprise, our mission will be achieved by:

  • Ensuring that the top talent and expertise are sought after and retained
  • Providing the environment to create and sustain innovative risk-based programs and initiatives that focus on the “why”
  • Collaborating with industry experts to ensure focus on the reliability and security risks rather than simply compliance
  • Maintaining the independence and objectivity that is required in an effective regulatory body

Maintaining the reliability and security of the bulk power system (BPS) is necessary to protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public. Texas RE’s staff works with industry professionals to help ensure the reliability and security of the BPS through effective and efficient compliance monitoring and enforcement. Compliance should be considered a byproduct to the reliability and security efforts and will be assessed through various monitoring tools. Texas RE continually conducts outreach to educate stakeholders and maintain focus on the reliability and security of the BPS.

Texas RE strongly encourages self-reporting of noncompliance and the development of responsive mitigation plans to effectively manage risks.

Texas RE has developed guidance and reference documents to help entities prepare for compliance engagements and complete data request forms. Below are links to the guidance and reference documents. Additional documents associated with specific compliance activities are included in the corresponding sections below.

Texas RE encourages registered entities to review the Engagement (CIP and O&P) Common Questions. These questions provide insight on how Texas RE may approach a registered entity and are based on past experience monitoring the NERC Reliability Standards. The questions include internal control questions, which are critically important in understanding how a registered entity manages risk.

The Generator Welcome Package was designed to provide Generator Owner(s) (GO) and Generator Operator(s) (GOP) a framework to aid in preparing for compliance obligations and expectations. The Generator Welcome Package was developed based on Texas RE experiences with new GOs and GOPs and does not guarantee that compliance will be achieved.  However, with proper planning and a framework for assessing the state of compliance, an entity is better prepared to be compliant on its registration date and beyond.

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Texas RE identifies risks that each entity poses to the BPS and develops a focused, risk-based compliance oversight approach. To accomplish this, Texas RE uses several tools to assess risk and develop a “right-sized” approach for compliance monitoring.

Inherent Risk Assessments (IRA) identify the inherent risks of a registered entity. An IRA considers risk factors such as generation and transmission assets, operational responsibilities, interconnectivity, and unique entity composition as shown in the ERO Enterprise Risk Factors relevant for the Interconnection. Texas RE may ask additional questions to fully evaluate risks as shown in the General Entity Information document.

The IRA process is a tool that Texas RE uses to inform an engagement scope – that is, the list of NERC Reliability Standards and Requirements to be evaluated during a Compliance Audit, Self-Certification, or Spot Check. Texas RE also performs IRAs when there are changes to a registered entity, significant changes to reliability risk, addition of a new registered entity (or function), or the emergence of new risks.

Texas RE develops a Compliance Oversight Plan (COP) for each entity based on its inherent risks and performance considerations. A COP considers entity performance such as internal controls, compliance history, events, and misoperations. This data is integrated into an overall evaluation of the entity’s risks. Based on this assessment, Texas RE determines the general interval between engagements, as well as the compliance tools to be considered for oversight. As a longer range, strategic overview of the entity’s risks, a COP is not associated with any particular engagement. Instead, it is designed to be valid for multiple engagement cycles and guides the scheduling of compliance oversight activities.

A list of requirements in the COP serves to illustrate an entity’s most relevant risks, although it is not a complete list of the entity’s compliance responsibility. Additionally, the COP is a dynamic representation of the risk-based focus for a registered entity; the COP may change based on the facts and circumstances.

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A list of NERC Reliability Standards and their associated Reliability Standards Audit Worksheets (RSAW) is available on the NERC website. Texas RE recommends that you refer to the ERO Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP) Implementation Plan located under "One-Stop Shop (Compliance & Enforcement Program)" here for a description of how compliance monitoring engagements will be approached in the Texas RE Region.

To assist Texas RE in determining how much risk an entity poses to reliability, the ERO Enterprise has identified a number of aspects that point to activities, behaviors, and qualities that will define the extent to which compliance monitoring is applied. Additional information describing how Inherent Risk Assessments (IRA) and Compliance Oversight Plans (COP) are developed for each registered entity is available Under the “Risk Assessment” section above.

Compliance Audit and Spot Check

Compliance Audits and Spot Checks are two tools used by Texas RE for compliance monitoring. Entities registered with NERC are subject to Compliance Audit and/or Spot Check for compliance with the NERC Reliability Standards that apply to the functions for which the entity is registered.

Texas RE notifies entities of upcoming engagements by no later than the appropriate time frame called for in the Rules of Procedure. For information on what to expect, see the General Information Briefing and General Engagement Plan Briefing. Cyber Security Data Submittal Guidance is available to assist in engagements containing CIP requirements.

Texas RE uses Reliability Standards Audit Worksheets (RSAWs) and other data request forms as compliance monitoring tools. Additionally, Texas RE has developed guidance and reference documents to help entities complete data request forms and prepare for compliance engagements. Below are links to the RSAWs, guidance, and reference documents. Texas RE encourages registered entities to review the Engagement (CIP and O&P) Common Questions. They provide insight on how Texas RE may approach a registered entity and are based on past experience monitoring the NERC Reliability Standards. The questions include internal control questions, which are critically important in understanding how a registered entity manages risk.

Self-Certification

Texas RE uses Self-Certification by registered entities to affirm that those entities meet requirements of applicable NERC Reliability Standards as determined through a risk-based approach.

Self-Certifications are conducted for areas in which risk has been identified. The results and information gathered during Self-Certifications will help provide Texas RE with reasonable assurance that compliance obligations are being met to support reliability.

The process requires a registered entity to perform and document specific tasks during the execution of the Self-Certification. The registered entity will certify its compliant status with the NERC Reliability Standard in question and is required to provide specific evidence to Texas RE to support conclusions. This process will help to establish reasonable assurance and may, in some cases, eliminate the need for the use of other traditional CMEP monitoring methods, such as a Compliance Audit of a specific NERC Reliability Standard.

In most cases, Texas RE will re-perform some of the work in order to verify the accuracy of the Self-Certifications conclusions. If issues surface during this review, Texas RE staff may conduct further communication with the registered entity.

Texas RE aims to perform Self-Certifications on newly registered entities within approximately 18 to 24 months following registration. These Self-Certifications are performed to ensure the registered entity has a foundation in place to contribute to the reliability of the BES and maintain compliance with the NERC Reliability Standards. A list of example questions that are frequently used for Self-Certifications is included in the "Example Self-Certification Questions" section of the Generator Welcome Package. Registered entities are encouraged to review the example Self-Certification questions and be prepared to answer these questions if the Requirement is included in the scope of a Self-Certification. Additionally, a list of internal control considerations for Requirements that are frequently included in the scope of the Self-Certifications is included in the Internal Controls Considerations tables of the Generator Welcome Package.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Texas RE Compliance.  If you are responsible for a Self-Certification and you do not know if you have access to submit information associated with the Self-Certification, contact your organization’s Primary Compliance Contact (PCC). If you do not know who your PCC is, contact Texas RE Information.

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The Annual Audit Plan includes a list of registered entities scheduled for a Compliance Audit. The Annual Audit Plan includes registered entities in the Coordinated Oversight Program that are scheduled for a Compliance Audit for which Texas RE is the Lead Regional Entity. Although an entity may not be listed on the Annual Audit Plan, the risk-based compliance monitoring framework allows Texas RE the flexibility to determine if entities may go through any type of compliance engagement (e.g. Spot Check, Compliance Audit, Self-Certification). The scope and type of engagement are direct results of Inherent Risk Assessments (IRA) and Compliance Oversight Plans (COP) completed for each registered entity.

Texas RE will provide adequate notice of the specific dates of any scheduled engagement prior to its commencement, in accordance with the NERC Rules of Procedure, Appendix 4C. 

This approach provides for consistent treatment of all registered entities regarding the engagement tool notification time frame and allows for more flexibility to manage risk-based processes, both for registered entities and the Regional Entity. The Annual Audit Plan gets periodically updated as needed.

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A Complaint alleges violations of a NERC Reliability Standard by a registered entity. Texas RE reviews submitted Complaints to determine if the Complaint provides sufficient basis for initiating another compliance monitoring or enforcement process. Complaints that are incomplete or do not provide sufficient information may be closed with no action required. Complaint review may lead to a Compliance Audit, Spot Check, Investigation, or any other compliance monitoring tool required to ensure the reliability and security of the BPS.

Texas RE may request evidence or additional information from the complainant or the entity to determine if any further action is necessary.

Complaint Analysis

Submitted complaints are analyzed for compliance with NERC Reliability Standards and may lead to further compliance processes (e.g., Spot Check). Texas RE will review the evidence produced by the complainant and by the entity to determine if any further action is necessary.

Submit a Complaint

Alleged violations of NERC Reliability Standards may be reported by emailing a complaint form to Texas RE Complaint or via the Ethics and Compliance Hotline site, which allows anonymous and confidential reporting. A complaint may also be filed utilizing the NERC Compliance Hotline Form.

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Through scheduled data submissions from registered entities, Texas RE monitors and reports the performance metrics for ERCOT region compliance with certain NERC Reliability Standards. The  ERO Enterprise Periodic Data Submittals Schedule is posted on the NERC Compliance One-Stop Shop website to provide registered entities a consistent periodic data submittal schedule throughout the ERO Enterprise by eliminating the Regional schedule variations.

The implementation of Align and the ERO Secure Evidence Locker (SEL) requires a new submission method and associated data entry fields to be completed.  Texas RE has provided sample representations of the data entry requirements in spreadsheet formats listed below. Align entry takes precedence over any materials. If you have any questions pertaining to the use of Align or the ERO SEL please contact Texas RE Compliance.

For information related to TADS, DADS, GADS, and MIDAS submissions, please see Performance Analysis on the Reliability Services page.

PRC-002-2

PRC-002-2 R12 requires that Transmission Owners and Generator Owners shall, within 90 calendar days of the discovery of a failure of the recording capability for any Sequence Event Recording (SER), Fault Recording (FR), or Dynamic Disturbance Recording, (DDR) data either:

  • Restore the recording capability, or
  • Submit a Corrective Action Plan to the Regional Entity and implement it

To facilitate uniformity in the submission process, Align and the ERO SEL are designed to support the submission of Corrective Action Plans to Texas RE Compliance. The registered entity is required to maintain all relevant evidence, including the Corrective Action Plan, per Measure M12 of PRC-002-2. Please note that no Corrective Action Plan submission is necessary if recording capability is restored within 90 calendar days. If it is determined that the recording capability cannot be restored within the 90 calendar days, submission of a Corrective Action Plan must be made within 90 calendar days of discovery.

If a registered entity identifies a need to submit a Corrective Action Plan to Texas RE, please submit via Align. Upon receiving notification from Align, Texas RE will work with the registered entity for questions regarding the submission.

The implementation of Align and the ERO SEL requires a new submission method referred to as an “Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal.” Please see the sample ERO Enterprise-wide Event Driven Data Submittal Form – PRC-002-2 Final document below to gain a reasonable understanding of inputs required for Align entry. If you have any questions pertaining to the use of Align or the ERO SEL please contact Texas RE Compliance

To report an Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal, review the NERC Learning video “27) Creating a Periodic Data Submittal” and 17) Submitting Evidence to the SEL.

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EOP-008-2

EOP-008-2 R8 requires Reliability Coordinators, Balancing Authorities, and Transmission Operators that have experienced a loss of its primary or backup functionality and that anticipate that the loss of primary or backup functionality will last for more than six calendar months to provide a plan to its Regional Entity within six calendar months of the date when the functionality is lost, showing how it will re-establish primary or backup functionality.

To facilitate uniformity in the submission process, Align and the ERO SEL are designed to support the submission of plans to Texas RE Compliance.  If a registered entity identifies a need to submit a plan to Texas RE, please submit via Align. Upon receiving notification from Align, Texas RE will work with the registered entity for questions regarding the submission.

The implementation of Align and the ERO SEL requires a new submission method referred to as an “Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal." Please see the sample ERO Enterprise-wide Event Driven Data Submittal Form – EOP-008-2 Final document below to gain a reasonable understanding of inputs required for Align entry. If you have any questions pertaining to the use of Align or the ERO SEL please contact Texas RE Compliance

To report an Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal, review the NERC Learning video “27) Creating a Periodic Data Submittal” and 17) Submitting Evidence to the SEL.

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TPL-001-4

The ERO Enterprise has developed the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise TPL-001-4: Use of Footnote 12 for NonConsequential Load Loss Review Process document, which addresses how ERO Enterprise staff will jointly review requests to utilize footnote 12 for Non-Consequential Load Loss under TPL-001-4 in determining the possibility of any Adverse Reliability Impact in a timely, structured, and consistent manner.  The document is attached to the ERO Enterprise Periodic Data Submittals Schedule posted on the One-Stop Shop (Compliance & Enforcement Program) website.

To facilitate uniformity in the submission process, Align and the ERO SEL are designed to support submission of TPL-001 Footnote 12 requests to Texas RE Compliance. If a registered entity identifies a need to submit a request to Texas RE, please submit via Align. Upon receiving notification from Align, Texas RE will work with the registered entity for questions regarding the submission.

The implementation of Align and the ERO SEL requires a new submission method referred to as an “Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal." Please see the sample ERO Enterprise-wide Event Driven Data Submittal Form – TPL-001-4 Final document below to gain a reasonable understanding of inputs required for Align entry.  If you have any questions pertaining to the use of Align or the ERO SEL please contact Texas RE Compliance.

To report an Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal, review the NERC Learning video “27) Creating a Periodic Data Submittal” and 17) Submitting Evidence to the SEL.

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TPL-007-4

TPL-007-4 Part 7.4 and Part 11.4, enforceable October 1, 2020, require that “responsible entities” (Planning Coordinator or Transmission Planner as determined in TPL-007-4 Requirement R1) submit a request for extension of time to the Compliance Enforcement Authority if the “responsible entity” is unable to implement the Corrective Action Plan within the timetables identified in the initial Corrective Action Plan developed under Part 7.3 or Part 11.3.

The ERO Enterprise has developed the TPL-007-4 CAP Extension Request Review Process to ensure a timely, structured, and consistent approach to extension request submittals and processing. The process is included in Appendix B of  the ERO Enterprise Periodic Data Submittals Schedule posted on the One-Stop Shop (Compliance & Enforcement Program) website.

To facilitate uniformity in the submission process, Align and the ERO SEL are designed to support submission of Corrective Action Plans to Texas RE Compliance. If a registered entity identifies a need to submit a Corrective Action Plan to Texas RE, please submit via Align. Upon receiving notification from Align, Texas RE will work with the registered entity for questions regarding the submission.

The implementation of Align and the ERO SEL requires a new submission method referred to as an “Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal." Please see the sample ERO Enterprise-wide Event Driven Data Submittal Form – TPL-007-4 Final document below to gain a reasonable understanding of inputs required for Align entry. If you have any questions pertaining to the use of Align or the ERO SEL please contact Texas RE Compliance.

To report an Event Driven Periodic Data Submittal, review the NERC Learning video “27) Creating a Periodic Data Submittal” and 17) Submitting Evidence to the SEL.

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FAC-003-4 and PRC-023-4 Periodic Data Submittals

Texas RE requests Period Data Submittals from applicable entities for FAC-003-4 and PRC-023-4 in accordance with the ERO Periodic Data Submittal Schedule posted on the NERC Compliance One-Stop Shop website.

For applicable registered entities that do not own Facilities applicable to Reliability Standards and Requirements subject to the Periodic Data Submittal requests, Texas RE accepts attestations. Align is utilized to provide attestations to Texas RE. Registered entities that provide attestations will not receive data submittal requests for these Reliability Standards and Requirements unless warranted by facts and circumstances. However, if conditions change that impact the registered entity’s applicability to a Reliability Standard and Requirement subject to a Periodic Data Submittal for which an attestation has been submitted, it is expected that the registered entity notify Texas RE Compliance of the change so the registered entity can begin meeting the reporting requirements for the applicable Reliability Standard and Requirement.

To facilitate uniformity in the submission process, Align and the ERO SEL are designed to support the submission of FAC-003-4 and PRC-023-4 information. If a registered entity identifies a need to submit information, please submit via Align and the ERO SEL. Upon receiving notification from Align, Texas RE will work with the registered entity for questions regarding the submission.

The implementation of Align and the ERO SEL requires the new submission method. Please see the sample ERO Enterprise-wide Data Submittal Form – FAC-003-4 Final and PRC-023-4 Final document to gain a reasonable understanding of inputs required for Align entry. Attestation forms are managed in Align. If you have any questions pertaining to the use Align or the ERO SEL please contact Texas RE Compliance.

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The Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) Enterprise utilizes multiple processes for reviewing events and disturbances. The Event Analysis Process (EAP) is performed by Texas RE Reliability Services staff and is intended to analyze the facts from an event and determine its root cause. The event analysis process serves as a learning opportunity for industry by identifying and disseminating valuable information to enable improved and more reliable operation.

As discussed in the ERO Enterprise Guide for Compliance Monitoring, the Texas RE Risk Assessment team determines a Compliance Oversight Plan (COP) that includes event analysis for each registered entity. Texas RE management will review events, from a high-level risk perspective, in a timely manner to accommodate timely retention of evidence that may be required to demonstrate compliance. An event may require a data retention hold notification based on the facts and circumstances. The event will be reviewed as an input to a registered entity’s COP and, may, facilitate or trigger an unscheduled update of the COP. The COP update could simply be updated registered entity performance characteristics based on the event, a modification of the registered entity monitoring interval, or, in certain cases, drive the need for a more immediate compliance monitoring engagement (e.g., Spot Check).

If there are any questions or comments regarding events in the COP process please contact Texas RE Information.