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NERC Primers

A Primer on NERC 693

NERC 693 – a summary

How did NERC’s 693 reliability standards come about?

On March 16, 2007, the FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION outlined Mandatory Reliability Standards for the Bulk-Power System, 18 CFR Part 40 (Docket No. RM06-16-000; Order No. 693): Summary is below. The full document can be accessed here.

On June 18, 2007, compliance with NERC Reliability Standards became a legal requirement for Bulk-Power System owners, operators and users.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation NERC 693 reliability standards define the reliability requirements for planning and operating the North American bulk power system. NERC 693 standards govern all stages of the energy process from generation to distribution to transmission.

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE. ACTION: Final Rule. SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Commission approves 83 of 107 proposed Reliability Standards, six of the eight proposed regional differences, and the Glossary of Terms Used in Reliability Standards developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which the Commission has certified as the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) responsible for developing and enforcing mandatory Reliability Standards. Those Reliability Standards meet the requirements of section 215 of the FPA and Part 39 of the Commission’s regulations. However, although we believe it is in the public interest to make these Reliability Standards mandatory and enforceable, we also find that much work remains to be done. Specifically, we believe that many of these Reliability Standards require significant improvement to address, among other things, the recommendations of the Blackout Report. Therefore, pursuant to section 215(d)(5), we require the ERO to submit significant improvements to 56 of the 83 Reliability Standards that are being approved as mandatory and enforceable. The remaining 24 Reliability Standards will remain pending at the Commission until further information is provided.

What is NERC?

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation is a nonprofit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, and formed on March 28, 2006, as the successor to the North American Electric Reliability Council

What is FERC’s role?

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is a federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil.

What is the difference between NERC and FERC?

According to NERC, NERC is the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) for North America, subject to oversight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and governmental authorities in Canada. NERC’s jurisdiction includes users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system, which serves nearly 400 million people.

What do small entities have to do to comply with NERC and FERC?

The Small Entity Compliance Guide Mandatory Reliability Standards (Order No. 693) published by FERC sets out the impact on all small entities:

A small entity is required to comply with Commission-approved mandatory Reliability Standards if it is registered by a Regional Entity as a user, owner, or operator of the Bulk Power System. A Regional Entity is an entity which has entered into an agreement, approved by the Commission, with the ERO by which the ERO delegates authority its authority to propose and enforce Reliability Standards. Order No. 693 stated that the 83 Commission-approved Reliability Standards will apply to organizations that are registered by the ERO.

Generally, the Regional Entity will register entities who use, own or operate the electrical generation resources, transmission lines, interconnections with neighboring systems, and associated equipment generally operated at voltages of 100 kV or higher.

Further, the ERO has established criteria for registering users, owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System that must comply with Reliability Standards and the Commission approved these criteria in Order No. 693. Generally, NERC will register those distribution providers or Load-Serving Entities that have a peak load of 25 MW or greater and are directly connected to the bulk electric system or are designated as a responsible entity as part of a required underfrequency load shedding program or a required undervoltage load shedding program. For generators, the ERO plans to register individual units of 20 MVA or greater that are directly connected to the bulk electric system, generating plants with an aggregate rating of 75 MVA or greater, any blackstart unit material to a restoration plan, or any generator “regardless of size, that is material to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System.”2 2 More details are available at the NERC website. See

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