Reliability Standard PRC-027-1 Will Be Effective 04/01/2021 – Are You Ready?

Reliability Standard PRC-027-1 Will Be Effective 04/01/2021 – Are You Ready?

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Reliability Standard PRC-027-1 – Coordination of Protection Systems for Performance During Faults will go into effect on April 1, 2021, making it mandatory and enforceable, and all applicable entities responsible for compliance with the Requirements.  The purpose of the Standard is to maintain the coordination of Protection Systems installed to detect and isolate Faults on Bulk Electric System (BES) Elements in the intended operating sequence.  Applicable entities include Transmission Owners (TO), Generator Owners (GO), and Distribution Providers (DP) required to coordinate the installation of Protection Systems to detect and operate in an intended sequence that will isolate Faults on Bulk Electric System (BES) Elements.

So… Are you an applicable entity and if so, WILL YOU BE COMPLIANT ON APRIL 1, 2021?  Below are some key points to consider as the effective date of this Standard quickly approaches.

Reliability Standard PRC-027-1 Summary

The Reliability Standard will introduce a new term to the NERC Glossary of TermsProtection System Coordination Study is defined as, “An analysis to determine whether Protection Systems operate in the intended sequence during Faults.”

The Standard also contains supplementary materials, including an attachment that narrows the list of applicable Protection System functions to those that utilize current measurements to initiate the tripping of associated circuit breakers.  These include the (ANSI/IEEE Standard C37.2) device 21 (Distance Relay), device 50 (Instantaneous Overcurrent Relay), device 51 (AC Inverse Time Overcurrent Relay), device 67 (AC directional overcurrent Relay), and any overcurrent relay whose function is used in conjunction with another relay (e.g. a “50” device relay used in conjunction with a “62 – Time-delay” device relay).  Additional technical rationales and basis for each requirement and their individual parts are also included.

The Standard’s three requirements can be summarized as follows:

  • Requirement R1 directs the applicable entity to document the processes used to develop Protection System settings for its BES Elements, including peer-to-peer verifications and coordination with external entities.

  • Requirement R2 identifies how often the applicable entity is to conduct a Protection System Coordination Study.

  • Requirement R3 directs the applicable entity to implement the processes documented for Requirement R1.

Associated Reliability Standards PER-006-1 and PRC-001-1.1(ii)

The April 1, 2021 effective date of PRC-027-1 will occur concurrently with the enforcement of the PER-006-1 – Specific Training for Personnel Reliability Standard, as well as the retired of the remaining portions of PRC-001-1.1(ii) – System Protection Coordination.  NERC has asserted that PRC-027-1 and PER-006-1 are an improvement over currently-effective PRC-001-1.1(ii) and will ensure that appropriate personnel are trained on protection systems and that protection systems are appropriately studied, coordinated, and monitored.

Evidence Retention

PRC-027-1 identifies the retention period that an applicable entity is required to retain specific evidence to demonstrate compliance for each of the Requirements as “…since the last audit, unless directed by its Compliance Enforcement Authority to retain specific evidence for a longer period of time as part of an investigation.”  Considering that PRC-027-1 is new, and entities have not yet been audited on this Standard, PCS recommends retaining all evidence associated with this Reliability Standard through the completion of its first audit.

About PCS

Proven Compliance Solutions Inc. (PCS) provides NERC Reliability Standards compliance consulting services that cover all aspects of the Operations & Planning Standards and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards.  Our services include audit support and preparation, compliance assessments, mock audits, gap analyses, staff training, authoring and implementation of Internal Compliance Programs, development, and implementation of reliability compliance documentation, and advising clients on reliability compliance issues.  We work with the entity to develop and implement sound operational procedures that support all aspects of regulatory compliance.  PCS has developed a web-based Standards Compliance Intelligence Portal (SCIP) that identifies Standards in development and upcoming Standards enforcement that is customized to each client’s needs.  Industry news and events, as well as regional and provincial activities are also tracked.  Our team is unique in that we have extensive expertise from both sides of the audit table, as well as in the implementation and management of NERC compliance programs.  The team includes two former NERC auditors, a former WECC CIP auditor, five former compliance program managers, and a track record of excellence in Regional audits that sets us apart.

For more information on how we can assist your organization with its NERC Reliability Standards compliance needs, contact Dale Zahn at dzahn@provencompliance.com or (262) 436-4116.  To learn more about Proven Compliance Solutions Inc., visit our website at www.provencompliance.com.

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