FERC Reviews NERC Penalty

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In an order issued on Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) initiated review of a settlement filed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) concerning a violation by Turlock Irrigation District (Turlock) of the NERC Reliability Standards on vegetation management.

The settlement required Turlock to pay a penalty of $80,000 for the violation. The violation resulted from a vegetation-caused outage in August 2007, which resulted in the loss of 270 MW of firm load in Turlock's and a neighboring service territory (about 40,000 customers). Turlock reported the violation to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) (the NERC Regional Entity with front-line enforcement responsibility for Turlock's region). Following an investigation, WECC concluded that Turlock violated Reliability Standard FAC-003 because it failed to follow its vegetation management plan, resulting in the outage. Despite the high impact on the reliability of the Bulk Power System, NERC and WECC credited Turlock with self-reporting the violation, promptly mitigating it, and having an internal compliance program; Turlock's small size, non-profit status, cooperation and history of compliance also were noted.

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