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NERC Issues Level 3 Alert to Increase Winter Preparedness

On May 15, 2023, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) issued its highest alert ever, listing essential industry actions for cold and extreme weather preparedness.

NERC is a nonprofit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the successor to the North American Electric Reliability Council (also known as NERC). In brief, 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 mission as stated on its web site home page is “to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid.”

NERC’s Level 3 Alert states in part:

NERC is issuing this Level 3 Alert: Essential Actions for Cold Weather Preparations for Extreme Weather Events to increase the Reliability Coordinators’ (RC), Balancing Authorities’ (BA), Transmission Operators’ (TOP), and Generator Owners’ (GO) readiness and enhance plans for, and progress toward, mitigating risk for the upcoming winter and beyond.

As the November 2021 FERC/NERC Joint Inquiry Report into the Causes of the February 2021 Cold Weather Event (Winter Storm Uri) found, the bulk power system (BPS) cannot operate reliably unless generators and System Operators are prepared for cold weather. When cold weather events such as Winter Storm Uri occur, System Operators may need to shed firm customer load to prevent uncontrolled load shedding and cascading outages which may not only result in major disruption but also have very real human consequences.


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