[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 187 (Wednesday, September 26, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 59151-59156]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-23647]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 40

[Docket No. RM12-12-000]


Regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1--Automatic 
Underfrequency Load Shedding

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: Under section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA),\1\ the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes to approve 
regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 (Automatic Underfrequency 
Load Shedding). The North American Electric Reliability Corporation 
(NERC) submitted the proposed regional Reliability Standard to the 
Commission for approval. The proposed regional Reliability Standard 
applies to generator owners, planning coordinators, distribution 
providers, and transmission owners in the Northeast Power Coordinating 
Council Region and is designed to ensure the development of an 
effective automatic underfrequency load shedding (UFLS) program to 
preserve the security and integrity of the Bulk-Power System during 
declining system frequency events, in coordination with the NERC 
continent-wide UFLS Reliability Standard PRC-006-1. The Commission also 
proposes to approve the associated violation risk factors and violation 
severity levels, implementation plan, and effective dates proposed by 
NERC.
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    \1\ 16 U.S.C. 824(o) (2006).

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DATES: Comments are due November 26, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Comments, identified by docket number, may be filed in the 
following ways:
     Electronic Filing through http://www.ferc.gov. Documents 
created electronically using word processing software should be filed 
in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned 
format.
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Those unable to file electronically 
may mail or hand-deliver comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Comment 
Procedures Section of this document

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Enakpodia Agbedia (Technical Information), Office of Electric 
Reliability, Division of Reliability Standards, Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, 
Telephone: (202) 502-6750, Enakpodia.Agbedia@ferc.gov.
Matthew Vlissides (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, 
DC 20426, Telephone: (202) 502-8408, Matthew.Vlissides@ferc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Issued September 20, 2012

    1. Under section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Federal 
Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes to approve regional 
Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 (Automatic Underfrequency Load 
Shedding). The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) 
submitted the proposed regional Reliability Standard to the Commission 
for approval. The proposed regional Reliability Standard applies to 
generator owners, planning coordinators, distribution providers, and 
transmission owners in the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) 
Region and is designed to ensure the development of an effective 
automatic underfrequency load shedding (UFLS) program to preserve the 
security and integrity of the Bulk-Power System during declining system 
frequency events, in coordination with NERC's continent-wide UFLS 
Reliability Standard PRC-006-1.
    2. The Commission also proposes to approve the associated violation 
risk factors (VRF) and violation severity levels (VSL), implementation 
plan, and effective dates proposed by NERC.

I. Background

A. Mandatory Reliability Standards

    3. Section 215 of the FPA requires a Commission-certified Electric 
Reliability Organization (ERO) to develop mandatory and enforceable 
Reliability Standards that are subject to Commission review and 
approval. Once approved, the Reliability Standards may be enforced by 
NERC, subject to Commission oversight, or by the Commission 
independently.\2\
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    \2\ See 16 U.S.C. 824o(e) (2006).
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    4. A Regional Entity may develop a Reliability Standard for 
Commission approval to be effective in that region

[[Page 59152]]

only.\3\ In Order No. 672, the Commission stated that:
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    \3\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(e)(4). A Regional Entity is an entity 
approved by the Commission to enforce Reliability Standards under 
delegated authority from the ERO. See 16 U.S.C. 824o(a)(7) and 
(e)(4).

    As a general matter, we will accept the following two types of 
regional differences, provided they are otherwise just, reasonable, 
not unduly discriminatory or preferential and in the public 
interest, as required under the statute: (1) a regional difference 
that is more stringent than the continent-wide Reliability Standard, 
including a regional difference that addresses matters that the 
continent-wide Reliability Standard does not; and (2) a regional 
Reliability Standard that is necessitated by a physical difference 
in the Bulk-Power System.\4\
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    \4\ Rules Concerning Certification of the Electric Reliability 
Organization; and Procedures for the Establishment, Approval, and 
Enforcement of Electric Reliability Standards, Order No. 672, FERC 
Stats. & Regs. ] 31,204, at P 291, order on reh'g, Order No. 672-A, 
FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,212 (2006)).

    5. On April 19, 2007, the Commission accepted delegation agreements 
between NERC and each of the eight Regional Entities.\5\ In the order, 
the Commission accepted NPCC as a Regional Entity.
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    \5\ North American Electric Reliability Corp., 119 FERC ] 
61,060, order on reh'g, 120 FERC ] 61,239 (2007).
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    6. NERC Reliability Standard PRC-006-1 establishes continent-wide 
design and documentation requirements for UFLS programs that arrest 
declining frequency and assist recovery of frequency following system 
events leading to frequency degradation.

B. Proposed Regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1

    7. On May 4, 2012, NERC petitioned the Commission to approve 
proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 and the 
associated VRFs and VSLs, effective dates, and implementation plan.\6\ 
NERC states that the proposed regional Reliability Standard is just, 
reasonable, not unduly discriminatory or preferential, and in the 
public interest because it satisfies the factors set forth in Order No. 
672, which the Commission applies when reviewing a proposed Reliability 
Standard.\7\ NERC states that PRC-006-NPCC-1 also satisfies the 
additional criteria required for approval of regional Reliability 
Standards because it adds specificity not contained in the NERC 
continent-wide UFLS Reliability Standard PRC-006-1.\8\
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    \6\ Proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 is 
available on the Commission's eLibrary document retrieval system in 
Docket No. RM12-12-000 and on the NERC Web site, www.nerc.com. On 
August 3, 2012, NERC filed an errata attaching the proposed 
implementation plan.
    \7\ NERC Petition at 9-29 (citing Order No. 672, FERC Stats. & 
Regs. ] 31,204 at PP 323-335, 444).
    \8\ NERC Petition at 29-30.
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    8. Proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 has 23 
requirements, each having an associated measure of compliance. The 
proposed standard also includes Figure 1, which includes a curve that 
establishes a threshold for setting underfrequency trip protection for 
generators in the portion of the NPCC Region in the Eastern 
Interconnection. NERC explains that the proposed regional Reliability 
Standard is based on the program characteristics defined within NPCC 
Directory 12 Underfrequency Load Shedding Program 
Requirements, which contains the criteria that govern the NPCC 
Automatic UFLS program that have been in place since June 26, 2009.\9\ 
NERC states that the proposed regional Reliability Standard will 
achieve a coordinated, comprehensive UFLS region-wide consistent 
program within the NPCC Region and provides the regional requirements 
necessary to achieve and facilitate the broader program characteristics 
contained in the requirements of the NERC Reliability Standard PRC-006-
1.\10\ NERC states that the proposed regional Reliability Standard is 
designed to work in conjunction with and augment Reliability Standard 
PRC-006-1 by mitigating the consequences of an underfrequency event, 
while accommodating differences in system transmission and distribution 
topology among NPCC planning coordinators due to historical design 
criteria, makeup of load demands, and generation resources.\11\ NERC 
further states that the proposed regional Reliability Standard also 
facilitates uniformity, compliance, and clearly delineates what the 
applicable entities' requirements are within the NPCC Region to achieve 
a robust, reliable and effective UFLS program.\12\
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    \9\ Id. at 11.
    \10\ Id. at 29-30.
    \11\ Id. at 30.
    \12\ Id.
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    9. NERC also proposes VRFs and VSLs for each requirement of the 
proposed regional Reliability Standard and an implementation plan and 
effective dates. NERC states that these proposals were developed and 
reviewed for consistency with NERC and Commission guidelines.
    10. NERC proposes two effective dates for the proposed regional 
Reliability Standard. NERC states that Requirements R1 through R7 would 
become effective on the first day of the first calendar quarter 
following applicable regulatory approval but no earlier than January 1, 
2016. The implementation plan states that the January 1, 2016 effective 
date for Requirements R1 through R7 is meant to allow for completion of 
the on-going six-year implementation period for NPCC Directory 
12 Underfrequency Load Shedding Program Requirements.\13\ The 
implementation plan provides that the plan for ``this standard is 
based, in part, on the timelines reflected in the existing and ongoing 
Implementation Plan for NPCC Directory 12 absent the annual 
milestones required by Directory 12.'' \14\ With respect to 
Requirements R8 through R23, NERC proposes that they become effective 
the first day of the first calendar quarter two years following 
applicable regulatory approval.
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    \13\ NPCC Directory 12 Underfrequency Load Shedding 
Program Requirements contains the pre-existing criteria that govern 
the NPCC Automatic UFLS program developed by the NPCC Working Group 
on Inter-Area Dynamic Analysis. NERC Petition at 11. The 
implementation plan was submitted as an exhibit to the August 3, 
2012 NERC errata filing. As found on the Commission's eLibrary 
system in Docket No. RM12-12-000, the implementation plan is located 
in Exhibit A (PRC-006-NPCC-1--Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding 
Regional Reliability Standard Proposed and Implementation Plan for 
Approval) of the errata filing beginning at page 29 of the PDF 
electronic file submitted by NERC.
    \14\ Id.
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II. Discussion

A. PRC-006-NPCC-1

    11. Pursuant to FPA section 215(d)(2), we propose to approve 
regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 as just, reasonable, not 
unduly discriminatory or preferential, and in the public interest. 
Proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 is designed to 
operate in conjunction with the NERC continent-wide UFLS Reliability 
Standard PRC-006-1 by mitigating the consequences of underfrequency 
events, while accommodating differences in system transmission and 
distribution topology among NPCC planning coordinators due to 
historical design criteria, makeup of load demands, and generation 
resources.
    12. The proposed regional Reliability Standard includes 
requirements not found in the corresponding NERC continent-wide UFLS 
Reliability Standard PRC-006-1 that are more stringent than Reliability 
Standard PRC-006-1 and accommodate differences in system transmission 
and distribution topology among NPCC planning coordinators due to 
historical design criteria, makeup of load demands, and generation 
resources.\15\
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    \15\ NERC Petition at 29-30.
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    13. For example, the generator underfrequency trip threshold in 
PRC-

[[Page 59153]]

006-NPCC-1, Requirement R13 is more stringent than the threshold 
specified in the continent-wide Reliability Standard PRC-006-1. 
Requirement R13 of the proposed regional Reliability Standard requires 
generator owners to set their generator underfrequency trip relay 
setting below the generator underfrequency trip protection settings 
threshold shown in Figure 1, except as otherwise provided in 
Requirements R16 and R19. This requirement is more stringent than the 
corresponding requirement in Reliability Standard PRC-006-1, 
Requirement R4, because the continent-wide Reliability Standard 
requires a higher generator underfrequency trip setting.\16\ In 
addition, the continent-wide Reliability Standard PRC-006-1 does not 
require generator owners to have compensatory load shedding provisions 
if their units trip above the underfrequency tripping threshold 
requirements specified in PRC-006-1, Attachment 1. By contrast, 
proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1, Requirement 
R16.3, requires that each generator owner of existing non-nuclear units 
``[h]ave compensatory load shedding, as provided by a Distribution 
Provider or Transmission Owner that is adequate to compensate for the 
loss of their generator due to early tripping.'' \17\ The proposed 
regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 is therefore more 
stringent, while also accommodating NPCC's generation resource mix, 
because it requires compensatory load shedding by existing non-nuclear 
units, but not existing nuclear units, to make up for the loss of 
generation due to early tripping of the generators.\18\
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    \16\ Higher underfrequency trip settings result in generators 
tripping offline sooner than lower underfrequency trip settings.
    \17\ Attachment B to proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-
006-NPCC-1 establishes the compensatory load shedding criteria for 
the portion of NPCC located in the United States for existing non-
nuclear units.
    \18\ Compare proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-
NPCC-1, Requirement R16, with proposed regional Reliability Standard 
PRC-006-NPCC-1, Requirement R19.
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    14. While we propose to approve regional Reliability Standard PRC-
006-NPCC-1, the Commission seeks comment on: (1) the technical basis 
for the 57.8 Hz maximum tripping limit for existing nuclear units 
established in Requirement R19; and (2) the time-frames for actions 
that result in changes to the NPCC UFLS program.
    15. First, Requirement R19 of the proposed regional Reliability 
Standard for existing nuclear generating plants provides that:

R19 Each Generator Owner of existing nuclear generating plants with 
units that have underfrequency relay threshold settings above the 
Eastern Interconnection generator tripping curve in Figure 1, based on 
their licensing design basis, shall: [Violation Risk Factor: High] 
[Time Horizon: Long Term Planning]
19.1 Set the underfrequency protection to operate at as low a frequency 
as possible in accordance with the plant design licensing limitations 
but not greater than 57.8Hz
19.2 Set the frequency trip setting upper tolerance to no greater than 
+ 0.1 Hz
19.3 Transmit the initial frequency trip setting and any changes to the 
setting and the technical basis for the settings to the Planning 
Coordinator

    16. The NERC petition does not explain the technical basis for 
establishing 57.8 Hz as the maximum frequency at which existing nuclear 
units may trip pursuant to Requirement R19.1. The NERC petition states 
that the proposed regional Reliability Standard was based on the work 
of an NPCC working group.\19\ However, the NERC petition and its 
attachments do not provide any information as to how the 57.8 Hz figure 
was developed. We seek comment from NPCC, NERC, and other interested 
entities explaining the technical basis for the 57.8 Hz limit 
established in Requirement R19.1.
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    \19\ NERC Petition at 11.
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    17. Second, Requirement R3 of NERC's Reliability Standard PRC-006-1 
requires the planning coordinator to set the schedule for the 
distribution providers and transmission owners to implement the UFLS 
program. The regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1, Requirements 
R5, R16.2, and R19.3, require distribution providers, transmission 
owners, and generator owners to provide, inform, and transmit 
exceptions to the UFLS program and justifications for the exceptions to 
the planning coordinator. The requirements, however, do not specify a 
time-frame for the completion of these actions. Requirements R5, R16.2, 
and R19.3 address actions that can result in changes to the UFLS 
program and should occur before the UFLS program is implemented, thus 
making it necessary for entities to provide the required information to 
the planning coordinator within a specified period of time. We note 
there are other requirements in the proposed regional Reliability 
Standard that also require actions of distribution providers, 
transmission owners, and generator owners that should occur before the 
UFLS program is implemented that include specific time-frames.\20\ The 
Commission seeks comment on whether Requirements R5, R16.2, and R19.3 
should also specify time-frames for completion of the required actions 
and, if so, the appropriate time-frames for each.
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    \20\ See, e.g., Requirements R11, R14, and R23 of proposed 
regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1.
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B. Violation Risk Factors and Violation Severity Levels

    18. NERC states that each Requirement of the proposed regional 
Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 includes one VRF and one VSL and 
that the ranges of penalties for violations will be based on the 
sanctions table and supporting penalty determination process described 
in the Commission-approved NERC Sanctions Guideline. The Commission 
proposes to approve the VRFs and VSLs for regional Reliability Standard 
PRC-006-NPCC-1 proposed by NERC as consistent with the Commission's 
established guidelines.\21\
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    \21\ North American Electric Reliability Corp., 135 FERC ] 
61,166 (2011).
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C. Implementation Plan and Effective Dates

    19. NERC proposes that Requirements R1 through R7 become effective 
on the first day of the first calendar quarter following applicable 
regulatory approval but no earlier than January 1, 2016 while 
Requirements R8 through R23 become effective the first day of the first 
calendar quarter two years following applicable regulatory approval. 
NERC states that the implementation plan provides that ``this standard 
is based, in part, on the timelines reflected in the existing and 
ongoing Implementation Plan for NPCC Directory 12 absent the 
annual milestones required by Directory 12.'' \22\ The 
Commission proposes to accept the implementation plan and effective 
dates proposed by NERC for regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-
1.
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    \22\ NERC August 3, 2012 Errata at 29 of PDF electronic file.
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III. Information Collection Statement

    20. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations require 
that OMB approve certain reporting and recordkeeping (collections of 
information) imposed by an agency.\23\ Upon approval of a collection(s) 
of information, OMB will assign an OMB control number and expiration 
date. Respondents subject to the filing

[[Page 59154]]

requirements of this rule will not be penalized for failing to respond 
to these collections of information unless the collections of 
information display a valid OMB control number.
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    \23\ 5 CFR 1320.11.
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    21. The Commission is submitting these reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements to OMB for its review and approval under section 3507(d) 
of the PRA. Comments are solicited on the Commission's need for this 
information, whether the information will have practical utility, the 
accuracy of the provided burden estimate, ways to enhance the quality, 
utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and any 
suggested methods for minimizing the respondent's burden, including the 
use of automated information techniques.
    22. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes to approve regional 
Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1. This is the first time NERC has 
requested Commission approval of the proposed regional Reliability 
Standard. NERC states in its petition that UFLS requirements have been 
in place at a continent-wide level and within NPCC for many years prior 
to implementation of the Commission-approved Reliability Standards in 
2007. Because the UFLS requirements have been in place prior to the 
development of PRC-006-NPCC-1, the proposed regional Reliability 
Standard is largely associated with requirements that applicable 
entities are already following.\24\ The proposed regional Reliability 
Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 is designed to work in conjunction with and 
augment the NERC continent-wide UFLS Reliability Standard PRC-006-1 by 
mitigating the consequences of underfrequency events, while 
accommodating differences in system transmission and distribution 
topology among NPCC planning coordinators due to historical design 
criteria, makeup of load demands, and generation resources. The 
proposed regional Reliability Standard is only applicable to generator 
owners, planning coordinators, distribution providers, and transmission 
owners in the NPCC Region. The reporting requirements in proposed 
regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 only pertain to entities 
within the NPCC Region.
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    \24\ See 5 CFR 1320.3(b)(2) (``The time, effort, and financial 
resources necessary to comply with a collection of information that 
would be incurred by persons in the normal course of their 
activities (e.g., in compiling and maintaining business records) 
will be excluded from the `burden' if the agency demonstrates that 
the reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure activities needed to 
comply are usual and customary.'').
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    23. Public Reporting Burden: Our estimate below regarding the 
number of respondents is based on the NERC Compliance Registry as of 
July 24, 2012. According to the NERC Compliance Registry, there are 2 
planning coordinators and 135 generator owners within the United States 
portion of the NPCC Region. The Commission bases individual burden 
estimates on the time needed for planning coordinators to incrementally 
gather data, run studies, and analyze study results to design or update 
the UFLS programs that are required in the regional Reliability 
Standard in addition to the requirements of the NERC Reliability 
Standard PRC-006-1.\25\ Additionally, generator owners must set each 
underfrequency trip relay below the appropriate generator 
underfrequency trip protection settings threshold curve in PRC-006-
NPCC-1, Figure 1 and provide the generator underfrequency trip setting 
and time delay to its planning coordinator within 45 days of the 
planning coordinator's request. These burden estimates are consistent 
with estimates for similar tasks in other Commission-approved 
Reliability Standards. The following estimates relate to the 
requirements for this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Docket No. RM12-
12-000 (For Planning Coordinators) and are in addition to the burden 
for the continent-wide Reliability Standard PRC-006-1, which was 
approved in Order No. 763 (approved by OMB Control No. 1902-0244 on 7/
9/2012).
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    \25\ The burden estimates for Reliability Standard PRC-006-1 are 
included in Order No. 763 and are not repeated here.

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                                                     Number of       Number of        Average
      PRC-006-NPCC-1 (FERC-725L) (automatic         respondents    responses per   burden hours    Total annual
       underfrequency load  shedding) \26\           annually       respondent     per response    burden hours
                                                             (1)             (2)             (3)     (1) x (2) x
                                                                                                             (3)
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PCs*: Design and document Automatic UFLS Program               2               1               8              16
PCs: Update and Maintain UFLS Program Database..  ..............  ..............              16              32
GOs*: Provide Documentation and Data to the                  135               1              16            2160
 Planning Coordinator...........................
GOs: Record Retention...........................  ..............  ..............               4             540
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................  ..............  ..............  ..............            2748
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* PC=planning coordinator; GO=generator owner.

     
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    \26\ Proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 
applies to planning coordinators, transmission owners, distribution 
providers and generator owners. However, the burden associated with 
the transmission owners and distribution providers is not included 
within this table because the Commission accounted for it under 
Commission-approved Reliability Standards PRC-006-1, PRC-007-0 and 
PRC-009-0.
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    Total Annual Hours for Collection: (Compliance/Documentation) = 
2,748 hours.
    Total Reporting Cost for planning coordinators: = 48 hours @ $120/
hour = $5,760.
    Total Reporting Cost for generator owners: = 2,160 hours @ $120/
hour = $259,200.
    Total Record Retention Cost for generator owners: 540 hours @ $28/
hour = $15,120.
    Total Annual Cost (Reporting + Record Retention) \27\: = $5760 + 
$259,200 +$15,120 = $280,080.
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    \27\ The Commission bases the hourly reporting cost on the cost 
of an engineer to implement the requirements of the rule. The record 
retention cost comes from Commission staff research on record 
retention requirements.
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    Title: Mandatory Reliability Standards for the NPCC Region.
    Action: Proposed Collection FERC-725L.
    OMB Control No.: To be determined.
    Respondents: Businesses or other for-profit institutions; not-for-
profit institutions.
    Frequency of Responses: On Occasion.
    Necessity of the Information: This proposed rule proposes to 
approve the regional Reliability Standard pertaining to automatic 
underfrequency load shedding. The proposed regional Reliability 
Standard helps ensure the

[[Page 59155]]

development of an effective UFLS program that preserves the security 
and integrity of the Bulk-Power System during declining system 
frequency events in coordination with the continent-wide Reliability 
Standard PRC-006-1 requirements.
    Internal Review: The Commission reviewed the proposed regional 
Reliability Standard and made a determination that its action is 
necessary to implement section 215 of the FPA. These requirements, if 
accepted, should conform to the Commission's expectation for UFLS 
programs as well as procedures within the NPCC Region.
    24. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting 
requirements by contacting the following: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: 
Ellen Brown, Office of the Executive Director, email: 
DataClearance@ferc.gov, phone: (202) 502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873].
    25. For submitting comments concerning the collection(s) of 
information and the associated burden estimate(s), please send your 
comments to the Commission and to the Office of Management and Budget, 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 
[Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 
phone: (202) 395-4638, fax: (202) 395-7285]. For security reasons, 
comments to OMB should be submitted by email to: oira_submission@omb.eop.gov. Comments submitted to OMB should include FERC-
725L and Docket Number RM12-12-000.

IV. Environmental Analysis

    26. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may 
have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.\28\ The 
Commission has categorically excluded certain actions from this 
requirement as not having a significant effect on the human 
environment. Included in the exclusion are rules that are clarifying, 
corrective, or procedural or that do not substantially change the 
effect of the regulations being amended.\29\ The actions proposed here 
fall within this categorical exclusion in the Commission's regulations.
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    \28\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations 
Preambles 1986-1990 ] 30,783 (1987).
    \29\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii).
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V. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    27. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \30\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of any rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The RFA mandates consideration of regulatory alternatives that 
accomplish the stated objectives of a proposed rule and that minimize 
any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Size 
Standards develops the numerical definition of a small business.\31\ 
The SBA has established a size standard for electric utilities, stating 
that a firm is small if, including its affiliates, it is primarily 
engaged in the transmission, generation and/or distribution of electric 
energy for sale and its total electric output for the preceding twelve 
months did not exceed four million megawatt hours.\32\
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    \30\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
    \31\ 13 CFR 121.101.
    \32\ 13 CFR 121.201, Sector 22, Utilities & n.1.
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    28. Proposed regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 proposes 
to achieve a coordinated, comprehensive UFLS region-wide consistent 
program within the NPCC Region to achieve and facilitate the broader 
program characteristics contained in the requirements of the continent-
wide Reliability Standard PRC-006-1.\33\ It will be applicable to 
planning coordinators, generator owners, transmission owners and 
distribution providers. Comparison of the NERC Compliance Registry with 
data submitted to the Energy Information Administration on Form EIA-861 
indicates that 5 small entities are registered as generator owners in 
the United States portion of the NPCC Region.\34\ The Commission 
estimates that the small generator owners to whom the proposed regional 
Reliability Standard applies will incur compliance and record keeping 
costs of $10,160 ($2,032 per generator owner). Accordingly, proposed 
regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 should not impose a 
significant operating cost increase or decrease on the affected small 
entities.
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    \33\ NERC Petition at 29-30
    \34\ The two planning coordinators in the United States portion 
of the NPCC Region are not considered small entities.
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    29. Further, NERC explains that the cost for smaller entities to 
implement regional Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 was considered 
during the development process. NERC states that proposed regional 
Reliability Standard PRC-006-NPCC-1 provides an opportunity for smaller 
entities to aggregate their load with other such entities in the same 
electrical island. This allows each smaller entity's respective 
planning coordinator to achieve the desired aggregate outcome within 
that island according to program characteristics.\35\
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    \35\ NERC Petition at 25.
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    30. Based on this understanding, the Commission certifies that the 
regional Reliability Standard will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, no 
regulatory flexibility analysis is required.

VI. Comment Procedures

    31. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on 
the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including 
any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish 
to discuss. Comments are due November 26, 2012. Comments must refer to 
Docket No. RM12-12-000, and must include the commenter's name, the 
organization they represent, if applicable, and their address in their 
comments.
    32. The Commission encourages comments to be filed electronically 
via the eFiling link on the Commission's web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission accepts most standard word processing 
formats. Documents created electronically using word processing 
software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format 
and not in a scanned format. Commenters filing electronically do not 
need to make a paper filing.
    33. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically 
must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    34. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files 
and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the 
Document Availability section below. Commenters on this proposal are 
not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.

VII. Document Availability

    35. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the 
Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an 
opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the 
Internet through the Commission's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and 
in the Commission's Public Reference Room during normal

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business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First 
Street NE., Room 2A, Washington DC 20426.
    36. From the Commission's Home Page on the Internet, this 
information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is 
available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, 
printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type 
the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in 
the docket number field.
    37. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's 
Web site during normal business hours from the Commission's Online 
Support at (202) 502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at 
ferconlinesupport@ferc.gov, or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-
8371, TTY (202) 502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at 
public.referenceroom@ferc.gov.

    By direction of the Commission.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2012-23647 Filed 9-25-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P