FERC Clarifies FAST Act Regulations and Proposes Rules on Geomagnetic Disturbance Events

FERC has clarified its regulations implementing the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) related to Critical Energy/Electric Infrastructure Information (CEII). In Order No. 833-A, issued May 17, 2018, FERC clarified that it would consider “public safety benefits” in evaluating a request for CEII, and that its CEII Coordinator may solicit input from affected parties in evaluating a request. FERC also clarified that its CEII Coordinator may consider on a case-by-case basis requests for additional terms for non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that must be signed before a requester may receive CEII. Otherwise, FERC upheld its regulations adopted in Order No. 833.


FERC also proposed to approve a revised NERC Reliability Standard governing transmission system planning for Geomagnetic Disturbance Events (GMDs). GMDs occur when the sun ejects charged particles that interact with and cause changes in the earth’s magnetic fields, potentially disrupting the flow of power on the transmission grid. In a May 17, 2018 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), FERC proposed to approve NERC’s Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, which would require responsible entities to “conduct supplemental GMD vulnerability assessments and thermal impact assessments; obtain geomagnetically induced current and magnetometer data; and meet certain deadlines for the development and completion of tasks in corrective action plans.” FERC also proposed to direct NERC to “develop and submit modifications to the Reliability Standard to require applicable entities to develop and implement corrective action plans to mitigate supplemental GMD event vulnerabilities.” Comments on FERC’s proposals are due 60 days after publication of the NOPR in the Federal Register.

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