May 21, 2024
NERC Seeks Comment on Changes to Mediation Procedures
NERC's current offices in the Atlanta Financial Center
NERC's current offices in the Atlanta Financial Center | © RTO Insider LLC

NERC is seeking comments from industry stakeholders on revisions to its Rules of Procedure (ROP) for the ERO’s Compliance and Certification Committee (CCC) to conduct hearings and mediate disagreements between it and its regional entities. 

NERC staff and the CCC developed the revisions together, and the committee agreed at an April 26 meeting to post the changes for feedback. The comment period began April 30. 

The proposed changes apply to Appendix 4E of the ROP and are meant to bring this section in line with the ROP revisions FERC approved in May 2022. Those updates concerned the governance and integrity of NERC’s System Operator Certification Program and moved responsibility for credential maintenance from the ERO’s Reliability and Security Technical Committee to the Personnel Certification and Governance Committee, along with changes to the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program. (See FERC Partially Rejects NERC CMEP Changes.) 

According to a statement, the proposed ROP changes are “relatively non-substantive but help to ensure Appendix 4E is consistent and up to date with other provisions of the ROP.” The revisions would affect three sections of the appendix: 

    • CCCPP-004-3 — CCC hearing procedures 
    • CCCPP-005-2 — CCC hearing procedures for use in appeals of certification matters 
    • CCCPP-006-3 — CCC mediation procedures 

In the first section, NERC removed references to challenges brought by regional entities. This change was motivated by the dissolution of the SPP Regional Entity and the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council, which were the last REs required to comply with NERC’s reliability standards; as a result, NERC will only hear challenges from registered entities “monitored directly by NERC.” 

NERC added language to the section clarifying that hearing officers, technical advisers and members of hearing panels must disclose potential conflicts of interest related to the proceedings before them. Additional updates were made to align the document with NERC’s current nomenclature preferences. 

For the section concerning hearings over certification appeals, NERC updated the template for the procedure from the previous version published in 2010. Other changes are intended to bring the section in line with the CCCPP-004-3 revisions, including the conflict-of-interest and nomenclature updates. 

The final section concerns the CCC’s role in mediating disagreements or disputes between NERC and the REs relating to the ERO’s performance audits of RE compliance programs. NERC’s ROP and delegation agreements require it to perform such audits at least once every five years. 

These updates clarify the CCC’s role as “an acceptable, impartial, third-party panel” to assist both NERC and the RE involved “in voluntarily reaching an acceptable resolution” of whatever issues are in dispute. They specify that at the direction of NERC’s Board of Trustees, the CCC’s chair will appoint three committee members to serve on the mediating panel. 

Mediators will be “disinterested parties [who] shall not be registered in the [RE] or … otherwise have any conflicts prohibiting the member from playing a role in the disagreement or dispute.” The revisions also state that mediators would be required to attend a training course before the negotiations begin. 

The comment period will end June 14, after which the CCC will work with ERO staff to review and respond to comments. 

NERC CCCRegional Entities