FERC Approves $ 300,000 Settlement Between ReliabilityFirst and Ohio Valley Electric Corp. for violating NERC reliability standards | Man’s pepper with trout
On November 26, 2021, FERC issued a notice stating that it would not consider a penalty notice filed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) against Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (“OVEC”). FERC Notice of November 26 effectively approves $ 300,000 settlement between OVEC and regional reliability entity, ReliabilityFirst Corporation (“RF”), for violations of NERC reliability standards FAC-003 -4 R2 and FAC-003-4 R6, which deal with vegetation management. The settlement follows a 4.5 hour outage on one of OVEC’s 345 kV transmission lines in September 2018, which occurred when contact with a cedar growing nearby put the line out of order. OVEC neither admitted nor denied the violations, but accepted the fine of $ 300,000.
NERC filed its penalty notice regarding OVEC violations on October 28, 2021. There, NERC explained that OVEC and RF reached a settlement agreement to resolve any outstanding issues arising from the violations by the ‘OVEC of vegetation management reliability standards. According to the NERC file, RF determined that the OVEC failed to identify a tree growing near the line, which resulted in contact with vegetation when the phase A conductor sagged in. shaft, taking the line out of service for 4 hours and 30 minutes.
In addition, NERC cited RF’s determination that the OVEC did not perform 100% of its right-of-way inspections for vegetation in 2018, including in the area where the outage occurred. Behind the scenes, NERC reliability standards require the OVEC to perform a vegetation inspection of 100 percent of its applicable transmission lines at least once per calendar year. To meet this requirement, OVEC conducts air patrols by helicopter to identify areas where corrective action may be needed to prevent vegetation from interfering with the operation of the circuit. RF determined that the OVEC did not perform 100% of these inspections in 2018 because a helicopter crash had occurred during the inspections, and the OVEC was unable to reschedule and complete the inspections of the remaining lines on time.
NERC also cited RF’s decision that the two violations posed a serious and substantial risk to the reliability of the bulk feed system, as well as OVEC’s submission of mitigation plans to address the violations, and subsequent certifications that it has completed all mitigation activities.