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Can your entity meet ERCOT compliance requirements?

Scheduling entities and transmission operators within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region are subject to protocol compliance audits. Texas Reliability Entity, Inc. (Texas RE) monitors compliance with ERCOT Protocols and Operating Guides for the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), as outlined on the Texas RE website:
Any organization that is registered with the ERCOT independent system operator (ISO) as (1) a qualified scheduling entity (QSE) with resources level 3 or 4 or (2) a transmission operator is subject to a protocol compliance audit by Texas RE, on a three-year cycle. A QSE without a local control center is audited on a six-year cycle.

Texas RE is treating compliance to ERCOT requirements similar to NERC compliance. Texas RE will send entities questionnaires instead of NERC Reliability Standard Audit Worksheets (RSAWs) and report their findings to the PUCT.

The number one goal is to avoid penalties. Avoiding penalties ensures that entities save costs and maintain positive relationships with the PUCT and the public at large.

Maintaining ERCOT complianceTexas with ERCOT boundaries
Nodal Protocols and Guides are often modified monthly and include items ERCOT needs to be NERC compliant as a Reliability Coordinator and Balancing Authority. It is crucial for each ERCOT entity to be aware of changes to the Operating Guides and Protocols that can result in non-compliance.

Test your entity’s knowledge of ERCOT requirements with the following examples:  

  1. Protocols Section 6.5.9.3.1 Operating Condition Notice Requirement – QSEs and TSPs are expected to establish and maintain internal procedures for monitoring actual and forecasted weather, and for implementing appropriate measures when the potential for adverse weather or other conditions (which could threaten ERCOT system reliability) arise.
  2. Operating Guide Section 2.2.9.2 Time Error and Time Synchronization Requirement – To promote accurate data reporting during an Energy Emergency Alert and other system events and ensure transaction schedules are simultaneous, all QSEs, TOs, and ERCOT will maintain their control system time within ±3 seconds of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) time signal. The NBS time signal shall set the time standard for ERCOT. ERCOT, QSEs, and TOs are required to employ clocks, voice and data recording systems that synchronize automatically with the NBS on at least a weekly basis.

Did your entity pass this test? Is your entity well versed in the other requirements and prepared to proactively avoid penalties?

For additional insight into ERCOT’s ever-changing requirements, contact Raymond Gilby, KEMA compliance assessment expert and principle consultant.

This article is featured for a special edition for TECH Notes, a monthly publication that provides business and technical insights for secure transmission and distribution systems. Sign up to receive advance notifcation.

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