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FERC, NERC Announce Joint Inquiry into Cold Weather Event

There were reports of multiple forced generation outages, voltage deviations and near-overloads during peak operations

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) have initiated a joint inquiry to assess the extreme cold weather event that occurred in the Midwest and a portion of South Central U.S. during the week of Jan. 15, 2018.

On Jan. 17, 2018, regional operators in the Midwest and South Central U.S. issued public appeals for consumers to voluntarily reduce their electricity use due to abnormally cold temperatures and higher than forecast electricity demand. There were reports of multiple forced generation outages, voltage deviations and near-overloads during peak operations.

The inquiry will focus on identifying the causes of, and any contributing factors to, the event, and will identify any appropriate recommendations for improving operations under similar conditions. This inquiry is not an enforcement investigation.

“Inquiries of this type are, however, among the many steps that we take to protect and safeguard the reliability of the bulk power system,” FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre said. “This inquiry is timely as it will allow us to identify and share any potential lessons learned as we approach the coming winter season,” said NERC President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Robb.

“It is also especially relevant that as the Western Interconnection Reliability Coordinator function fragments among multiple providers that we understand and underscore the importance of seamless RC-to-RC interactions.”

FERC and NERC staff will work with the Midwest Reliability Organization, ReliabilityFirst, SERC Reliability Corp., and the relevant involved companies.

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