REGULATORY: FERC: FERC Proposes Rule to Address Threat to the Power Grid from Geomagnetic Disturbances by Neil Levy, David Tewksbury, Bruce Richardson, and Grace Su

by King & Spalding

On October 18, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) proposing to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop one or more Reliability Standards that address the impact of geomagnetic disturbances on the reliability of the bulk-power system. The NOPR was prompted by concerns that the interaction of the Earth’s magnetic field and solar events can cause low frequency geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) to flow along the surface of the Earth and into the bulk-power system. GICs can interfere with normal system operations and can potentially lead to outages and cascading blackouts. Specifically, GICs can cause transformer cores to become “saturated,” which can cause internal components to overheat, produce harmonic distortions, and cause a transformer to substantially increase its absorption of reactive power.

The NOPR finds that there is a gap in NERC’s Reliability Standards regarding geomagnetic disturbances, and proposes to direct NERC to file Reliability Standards addressing such disturbances. Importantly, the NOPR draws specific attention to the effect of GICs on step-up transformers at large generating facilities, suggesting that both generators and transmission owners will have Reliability Standards with which to comply.

FERC proposes a notably aggressive timetable for implementing the new measures. Within 90 days of the effective date of a final rule, NERC would file Reliability Standards requiring owners and operators of the bulk-power system to develop and implement operational procedures to mitigate the effects of geomagnetic disturbances. Within six months of the effective date of the final rule, NERC would file Reliability Standards requiring owners and operators of the bulk-power system to conduct initial and on-going assessments on the impact of geomagnetic disturbances on bulk-power equipment and the bulk-power system. In addition, based on those assessments, the Reliability Standards would also require owners and operators of the bulk-power system to develop and implement plans so that instability, uncontrolled separation, or cascading failures do not occur as a result of a geomagnetic disturbance.

Comments on the NOPR and its timing provisions are due 60 days after publication of the NOPR in the Federal Register.

  Neil L. Levy
  Washington, D.C.
  +1 202 626 5452

  View Profile »


David G. Tewksbury
Washington, D.C.
+1 202 626 5454

View Profile »

  Bruce L. Richardson
  Washington, D.C.
  +1 202 626 5510

  View Profile »
  Grace Su
Washington, D.C.
+1 202 626 2952

View Profile »


Written by:

King & Spalding

King & Spalding on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.