Today’s LiveWire Spotlight looks at a joint review initiated by FERC, NERC, and the Regional Entities staff members to determine the cause drivers of errors made during relay commissioning. They were responding to a finding from MIDAS data that 18% to 36% of all Misoperations arise from the installation process. The review team generally observed that poorly performing Registered Entities did not have a centralized, comprehensive, and formally documented Protection System commissioning (PSC) program. Conversely, they saw that an independent review of Protection System designs by a “commissioning agent” prior to construction was a major contributing factor to a successful PSC program.
NERC still sees relay Misoperations as a key BES threat, but incidents are falling – allowing a reduction in priority. However, the growing use of networked microprocessor-based relays raises a cyber security risk that may return them to a top-of-list concern.