The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a non-profit, electric reliability organization (ERO) certified by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Its purpose is to uphold reliability standards for the power system, train and certify others, and decide upon and enforce reliability standards for the bulk power system (BPS).
These standards are what keep the United States’ BPS going.
NERC compliance in the high voltage industry seeks to train, educate, and provide certification-related services in order to uphold the ERO’s mission. Compliance occurs through eight regional audit-conducting groups composed of investor-owned utilities, rural electric coops, end-use customers, state and local utilities, and federal agencies, serving over 334 million people. Achieving NERC compliance requires proper training and collaboration of utility and energy operators.
System Operator Certification Program
The System Operator Certification Program, established by NERC, accepts applications year-round. There are no eligibility requirements. After completion of four exams: Interchange, Reliability Balancing, Transmission, and Transmission Balancing, continuing education requirements must be met every three years. The program uses its own process, the System Operator Certification and Continuing Education Database (SOCCED), to keep tabs on coursework, registering and paying for exams, and verifying completed courses.
Thirty hours, at the minimum, should include content and/or implementation of NERC standards. Another thirty hours, at least, should use operator training simulators, emergency drills/procedures/restoration, blackstart, or other reliability-based scenarios.
To achieve the intended results, compliance, HR or operations managers at utility or power companies can develop and install their own compliant programs. Decide on base performance standards and define the acceptable outcomes.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, under section 215 of the Federal Power Act, sets the standards. Personnel performance, training and qualifications, and reliability standards are detailed in the standards. The result provides reliability coordinators, transmission operators, and balancing authorities to set up training programs, as well as emergency operations, to determine worker’s performance and ability to ensure the continued reliability of the bulk power system.
Reliability Standard PER-005
The Reliability Standard PER-005 is an update over the PER-002, and includes a Job Task Analysis program (JTA). Due to these new guidelines, operators must understand not only the subject matter, but to show their ability to handle real-time job duties, with room for frequent evaluation and improvement or modification with the system itself.
By combining knowledge, skill, and behavior, it helps to ensure that no core part of the duties or performance required by these positions will be overlooked or undeveloped. A company training program should use the following five phases:
- Analysis: Determine a company-specific list of tasks that directly affect operator tasks associated with NERC Reliability Standards.
- Design: Highlight the learning objectives.
- Development: Create training materials to correlate with the new objectives.
- Implementation: Put the program in place, ensuring that employees can handle the outlined tasks.
- Evaluation: Reexamine the training program to make sure that it is up-to-date, and tweak as necessary.
Keep these guidelines in mind. There is no set model demanded by PER-005. Instead, it is up to the company to decide how to best keep NERC compliance in the high voltage industry.