TULSA, Oklahoma-February 2012--The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved both a new definition of the term “Protection System,” to be included in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) glossary of terms used in reliability standards, and also interpretations of the requirements of reliability standard PRC-005-1a, which sets forth requirements for the maintenance and testing of transmission and generation protection systems.
The revised definition primarily adds battery chargers to the categories of equipment that are deemed “Protection Systems” to ensure that batteries used to operate protection systems are in a continuous state of readiness. The revised definition of Protection System includes:
The following interpretations, among others, also will be included within PRC-005-1a, effective 30 days after FERC’s order is published in the Federal Register:
Each entity subject to PRC-005-1a is required to modify its protection system maintenance and testing program description and basis documents under PRC-005-1a, R1, to reflect the revised Protection System definition by April 1, 2013. (Until this time, FERC clarified that battery chargers are not required to be maintained and tested under PRC-005-1a.) In addition, each responsible entity shall be required to implement any new or additional maintenance and testing under R2 by the end of the first complete maintenance and testing cycle described in its program documentation following the establishment of any program changes resulting from the revised definition.
While there is a little more than a year to make changes necessitated by the new Protection System definition, responsible entities should soon start to identify which battery chargers must be included in the protection system maintenance and testing program, determine the appropriate testing interval, and identify what changes to program documentation are needed. This will allow ample time to identify, perform, and train on the changes necessitated by this new definition.
In addition, responsible entities should consider whether any of the approved interpretations would necessitate changes to their maintenance and testing program documentation or execution.