COM-002-4 – Operating Personnel Communications Protocols

Purpose

To improve communications for the issuance of Operating Instructions with predefined communications protocols to reduce the possibility of miscommunication that could lead to action or inaction harmful to the reliability of the Bulk Electric System (BES).

Applicability

4.1.1 Balancing Authority

4.1.2 Distribution Provider

4.1.3 Reliability Coordinator

4.1.4 Transmission Operator

4.1.5 Generator Operator

Effective Date

The standard shall become effective on the first day of the first calendar quarter that is twelve (12) months after the date that the standard is approved by an applicable governmental authority or as otherwise provided for in a jurisdiction where approval by an applicable governmental authority is required for a standard to go into effect. Where approval by an applicable governmental authority is not required, the standard shall become effective on the first day of the first calendar quarter that is twelve (12) months after the date the standard is adopted by the NERC Board of Trustees or as otherwise provided for in that jurisdiction.

Requirements

R1. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator shall develop documented communications protocols for its operating personnel that issue and receive Operating Instructions. The protocols shall, at a minimum: [Violation Risk Factor: Low][Time Horizon: Long-term Planning]

1.1. Require its operating personnel that issue and receive an oral or written Operating Instruction to use the English language, unless agreed to otherwise. An alternate language may be used for internal operations.

1.2. Require its operating personnel that issue an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction to take one of the following actions:

  • Confirm the receiver’s response if the repeated information is correct.
  • Reissue the Operating Instruction if the repeated information is incorrect or if requested by the receiver
  • Take an alternative action if a response is not received or if the Operating Instruction was not understood by the receiver.

1.3 Require its operating personnel that receive an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction to take one of the following actions:

  • Repeat, not necessarily verbatim, the Operating Instruction and receive confirmation from the issuer that the response was correct.
  • Request that the issuer reissue the Operating Instruction.

1.4. Require its operating personnel that issue a written or oral single-party to multiple-party burst Operating Instruction to confirm or verify that the Operating Instruction was received by at least one receiver of the Operating Instruction.

1.5. Specify the instances that require time identification when issuing an oral or written Operating Instruction and the format for that time identification.

1.6. Specify the nomenclature for Transmission interface Elements and Transmission interface Facilities when issuing an oral or written Operating Instruction.

R2. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator shall conduct initial training for each of its operating personnel responsible for the Realtime operation of the interconnected Bulk Electric System on the documented communications protocols developed in Requirement R1 prior to that individual operator issuing an Operating Instruction. [Violation Risk Factor: Low][Time Horizon: Long-term Planning]

R3. Each Distribution Provider and Generator Operator shall conduct initial training for each of its operating personnel who can receive an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction prior to that individual operator receiving an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction to either: [Violation Risk Factor: Low][Time Horizon: Long-term Planning]

  •  Repeat, not necessarily verbatim, the Operating Instruction and receive confirmation from the issuer that the response was correct, or
  • Request that the issuer reissue the Operating Instruction.

R4. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator shall at least once every twelve (12) calendar months: [Violation Risk Factor: Medium][Time Horizon: Operations Planning]

4.1. Assess adherence to the documented communications protocols in Requirement R1 by its operating personnel that issue and receive Operating Instructions, provide feedback to those operating personnel and take corrective action, as deemed appropriate by the entity, to address deviations from the documented protocols.

4.2. Assess the effectiveness of its documented communications protocols in Requirement R1 for its operating personnel that issue and receive Operating Instructions and modify its documented communication protocols, as necessary.

R5. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator that issues an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction during an Emergency, excluding written or oral single-party to multiple-party burst Operating Instructions, shall either: [Violation Risk Factor: High][Time Horizon: Real-time Operations]

  • Confirm the receiver’s response if the repeated information is correct (in accordance with Requirement R6).
  • Reissue the Operating Instruction if the repeated information is incorrect or if requested by the receiver, or
  • Take an alternative action if a response is not received or if the Operating Instruction was not understood by the receiver.

R6. Each Balancing Authority, Distribution Provider, Generator Operator, and Transmission Operator that receives an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction during an Emergency, excluding written or oral single-party to multiple-party burst Operating Instructions, shall either: [Violation Risk Factor: High][Time Horizon: Real-time Operations]

  •  Repeat, not necessarily verbatim, the Operating Instruction and receive confirmation from the issuer that the response was correct, or
  • Request that the issuer reissue the Operating Instruction.

R7. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator that issues a written or oral single-party to multiple-party burst Operating Instruction during an Emergency shall confirm or verify that the Operating Instruction was received by at least one receiver of the Operating Instruction. [Violation Risk Factor: High][Time Horizon: Real-time Operations]

 

Measures

M1. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator shall provide its documented communications protocols developed for Requirement R1.

M2. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator shall provide its initial training records related to its documented communications protocols developed for Requirement R1 such as attendance logs, agendas, learning objectives, or course materials in fulfillment of Requirement R2.

M3. Each Distribution Provider and Generator Operator shall provide its initial training records for its operating personnel such as attendance logs, agendas, learning objectives, or course materials in fulfillment of Requirement R3.

M4. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator shall provide evidence of its assessments, including spreadsheets, logs or other evidence of feedback, findings of effectiveness and any changes made to its documented communications protocols developed for Requirement R1 in fulfillment of Requirement R4. The entity shall provide, as part of its assessment, evidence of any corrective actions taken where an operating personnel’s non-adherence to the protocols developed in Requirement R1 is the sole or partial cause of an Emergency and for all other instances where the entity determined that it was appropriate to take a corrective action to address deviations from the documented protocols developed in Requirement R1.

M5. Each Reliability Coordinator, Transmission Operator, and Balancing Authority that issued an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction during an Emergency, excluding oral single-party to multiple-party burst Operating Instructions, shall have evidence that the issuer either: 1) confirmed that the response from the recipient of the Operating Instruction was correct; 2) reissued the Operating Instruction if the repeated information was incorrect or if requested by the receiver; or 3) took an alternative action if a response was not received or if the Operating Instruction was not understood by the receiver. Such evidence could include, but is not limited to, dated and timestamped voice recordings, or dated and time-stamped transcripts of voice recordings, or dated operator logs in fulfillment of Requirement R5.

M6. Each Balancing Authority, Distribution Provider, Generator Operator, and Transmission Operator that was the recipient of an oral two-party, person-to-person Operating Instruction during an Emergency, excluding oral single-party to multipleparty burst Operating Instructions, shall have evidence to show that the recipient either repeated, not necessarily verbatim, the Operating Instruction and received confirmation from the issuer that the response was correct, or requested that the issuer reissue the Operating Instruction in fulfillment of Requirement R6. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, dated and time-stamped voice recordings (if the entity has such recordings), dated operator logs, an attestation from the issuer of the Operating Instruction, memos or transcripts.

M7. Each Balancing Authority, Reliability Coordinator and Transmission Operator that issued a written or oral single or multiple-party burst Operating Instruction during an Emergency shall provide evidence that the Operating Instruction was received by at least one receiver. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, dated and timestamped voice recordings (if the entity has such recordings), dated operator logs, electronic records, memos or transcripts.

Compliance Enforcement Authority  

As defined in the NERC Rules of Procedure, “Compliance Enforcement Authority” means NERC or the Regional Entity in their respective roles of monitoring and enforcing compliance with the NERC Reliability Standards.

Data Retention

The following evidence retention periods identify the period of time an entity is required to retain specific evidence to demonstrate compliance. For instances where the evidence retention period specified below is shorter than the time since the last audit, the Compliance Enforcement Authority may ask an entity to provide other evidence to show that it was compliant for the full time period since the last audit.

Each Balancing Authority, Distribution Provider, Generator Operator, Reliability Coordinator, and Transmission Operator shall each keep data or evidence for each applicable Requirement for the current calendar year and one previous calendar year, with the exception of voice recordings which shall be retained for a minimum of 90 calendar days, unless directed by its Compliance Enforcement Authority to retain specific evidence for a longer period of time as part of an investigation.

If a Balancing Authority, Distribution Provider, Generator Operator, Reliability Coordinator, or Transmission Operator is found non-compliant, it shall keep information related to the non-compliance until mitigation is complete and approved or for the time period specified above, whichever is longer.

The Compliance Enforcement Authority shall keep the last audit records and all requested and submitted subsequent audit records.

Compliance Monitoring Assessment Processes 

Compliance Audits

Self-Certifications

Spot Checking

Compliance Investigation

Self-Reporting

Complaints

Additional Compliance Information

None


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