NERC confronts a case backlog now numbering in the thousands.
Bruce W. Radford is publisher of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
FERC’s recent technical conference on electric reliability, compliance and enforcement didn’t really get cracking until well into the second hour. That’s when Gerry Cauley, president and CEO of the North American Reliability Corp., confirmed that of nearly 5,500 possible standards violations identified by NERC since its official inception in 2006 as the nation’s electric reliability czar—an average of 30 new cases per week—some 3,000 remained open and unprocessed.
But it remained for Steve Naumann, testifying a few minutes later as Exelon’s V.P. for wholesale market development, to put numbers into context for FERC and attendees at the mid-November conference:
“Input minus output equals accumulation,” he said, referring to a formula he said he learned in engineering school.
“That concept applies to filling a bathtub, to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and to the processing of NERC violations.
“Whether we refer to the difference … as case load or backlog, there is an accumulation issue with NERC violations and the trend is upward” (see Figure 1).