Setting the Stage

Setting the Stage

Best practices and lessons learned are interesting topics, especially in the world of electric grid reliability. These approaches are closely tied to risk – the double-edged sword of risk to grid reliability – coupled with the risk of non-compliance with an approved NERC reliability standard. The Registered Entity or user of the Bulk Electric System is free to consider the application of the best practice or lessons learned and weigh the cost and time of implementation against the risk applicable to their situation. In some cases, the suggested best practice is not a heavy lift considering the attendant activity being addressed.

On November 2, FERC, NERC, and the Regional Entities issued a Joint Review of Protection System Commissioning Programs report. The key point of the report is a significant number of protection system misoperations are attributable to errors and lack of controls in the commissioning process. The recommended attributes of a successful process read like a who’s who of internal controls.

They include:

The report consists of these procedural, non-technical controls and quality assurance steps. The good news is these controls are easily developed steps that focus almost exclusively on communication. Easily demonstrated evidence of consideration and adoption of these best practices provides a simple plan defining the who, what, when, and where of the commissioning activity. Since the commissioning happens anyway, it’s easy to introduce these controls into the process.

The benefits of doing so are substantial:

Simple steps to address complex problems are not common. Implementation of best practices and lessons learned falls into that category and produces benefits far greater than the minimal cost of composing and adhering to a set of communication controls for a project you are going to do anyway.

The report also lists several IEEE procedures to help guide the technical implementation of the commissioning process.

Download Joint Review

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