[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 145 (Tuesday, July 29, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 43987-43994]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-17230]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 40

[Docket No. RM14-8-000]


Protection System Maintenance Reliability Standard

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Energy.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to the section regarding Electric Reliability of the 
Federal Power Act, the Commission proposes to approve a revised 
Reliability Standard, PRC-005-3 (Protection System and Automatic 
Reclosing Maintenance). In addition, the Commission proposes to approve 
one new definition and six revised definitions referenced in the 
proposed Reliability Standard, the assigned violation risk factors and 
violation severity levels, and NERC's proposed implementation plan. 
Consistent with Order No. 758, the proposed Reliability Standard 
requires applicable entities to test and maintain certain autoreclosing 
relays as part of a protection system maintenance program. The 
Commission also proposes to direct NERC to submit a report based on 
actual performance data, and simulated system conditions from planning 
assessments, two years after the effective date of the proposed 
standard, which addresses whether the proposed Reliability Standard 
applies to an appropriate set of autoreclosing relays that can affect 
Bulk-Power System reliability. Further, the Commission proposes to 
direct NERC to modify the proposed Reliability Standard to include 
maintenance and testing of supervisory relays, as discussed below.

DATES: Comments are due September 29, 2014.

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:
Tom Bradish (Technical Information), Office of Electric Reliability, 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, 
DC 20426, (301) 665-1391, Tom.Bradish@ferc.gov.
Julie Greenisen (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, 
DC 20426, (202) 502-6362, julie.greenisen@ferc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    1. Pursuant to section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA),\1\ the 
Commission proposes to approve a revised Reliability Standard, PRC-005-
3 (Protection System and Automatic Reclosing Maintenance). In addition, 
the Commission proposes to approve one new definition and six revised 
definitions referenced in the proposed Reliability Standard, the 
assigned violation risk factors and violation severity levels, and 
NERC's proposed implementation plan. Consistent with Order No. 758,\2\ 
the proposed Reliability Standard requires applicable entities to test 
and maintain certain autoreclosing relays as part of a protection 
system maintenance program. The Commission

[[Page 43988]]

also proposes to direct NERC to submit a report based on actual 
performance data, and simulated system conditions from planning 
assessments, two years after the effective date of the proposed 
standard, which addresses whether the proposed Reliability Standard 
applies to an appropriate set of autoreclosing relays that can affect 
Bulk-Power System reliability. Further, the Commission proposes to 
direct NERC to modify the proposed Reliability Standard to include 
maintenance and testing of supervisory relays, as discussed below.
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    \1\ 16 U.S.C. 824o (2012).
    \2\ Interpretation of Protection System Reliability Standard, 
Order No. 758, 138 FERC ] 61,094, clarification denied, 139 FERC ] 
61,227 (2012).
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I. Background

A. Regulatory Background

    2. Section 215 of the FPA requires a Commission-certified Electric 
Reliability Organization (ERO) to develop mandatory and enforceable 
Reliability Standards, subject to Commission review and approval.\3\ 
Once approved, the Reliability Standards may be enforced by the ERO 
subject to Commission oversight, or by the Commission independently.\4\ 
In 2006, the Commission certified NERC as the ERO pursuant to FPA 
section 215.\5\
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    \3\ 16 U.S.C. 824o(c) and (d).
    \4\ See id. 824o(e).
    \5\ North American Electric Reliability Corp., 116 FERC ] 
61,062, order on reh'g & compliance, 117 FERC ] 61,126 (2006), aff'd 
sub nom. Alcoa, Inc. v. FERC, 564 F.3d 1342 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
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    3. In 2007, in Order No. 693, the Commission approved an initial 
set of Reliability Standards submitted by NERC, including initial 
versions of four protection system and load-shedding-related 
maintenance standards: PRC-005-1, PRC-008-0, PRC-011-0, and PRC-017-
0.\6\ In addition, the Commission directed NERC to develop a revision 
to PRC-005-1 incorporating a maximum time interval during which to 
conduct maintenance and testing of protection systems, and to consider 
combining into one standard the various maintenance and testing 
requirements for all of the maintenance and testing-related Reliability 
Standards for protection systems, underfrequency load shedding (UFLS) 
equipment and undervoltage load shedding (UVLS) equipment.
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    \6\ Mandatory Reliability Standards for the Bulk-Power System, 
Order No. 693, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,242 at PP 1474, 1492, 1497, 
and 1514, order on reh'g, Order No. 693-A, 120 FERC ] 61,053 (2007).
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    4. The Commission issued Order No. 758 in February 2012, in 
response to NERC's request for approval of its interpretation of 
Requirement R1 of the then-current version of protection system 
maintenance standard, PRC-005-1. The Commission accepted NERC's 
proposed interpretation of PRC-005-1, which identified the types of 
protection system equipment to which the Reliability Standard applied. 
In addition, the Commission directed NERC to develop modifications to 
the standard to address gaps highlighted by the proposed 
interpretation, including the need to address reclosing relays that may 
affect the reliability of the Bulk-Power System.\7\
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    \7\ The approved interpretation stated:
    Request R3: Does R1 require maintenance and testing of 
transmission line re-closing relays?
    Response: No. `Protective Relays' refer to devices that detect 
and take action for abnormal conditions. Automatic restoration of 
transmission lines is not a `protective' function.
    Order No. 758, 138 FERC ] 61,094 at P 7.
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    5. In the discussion surrounding that directive, the Commission 
described certain scenarios where reclosing relays might impact 
reliability,\8\ but recognized that it may not be appropriate to 
include all applications of autoreclosing relays in the protection 
system maintenance standard:
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    \8\ The Commission referred to one incident involving the 
misoperation or poor coordination of reclosing relays that 
ultimately resulted in the loss of over 4,000 MW of generation and 
multiple 765 kV lines, to illustrate the effect reclosing relays can 
have on the reliability of the Bulk-Power System. See Order No. 758, 
138 FERC ] 61,094 at P 23 and n.32.

    The NOPR raised a concern that excluding the maintenance and 
testing of reclosing relays that can exacerbate fault conditions 
when not properly maintained and coordinated will result in a gap 
affecting Bulk-Power System reliability. We agree with MidAmerican 
that while there are only limited circumstances when a reclosing 
relay can actually affect the reliability of the Bulk-Power System, 
there are some reclosing relays, e.g., whose failure to operate or 
that misoperate during an event due to lack of maintenance and 
testing, may negatively impact the reliability of the Bulk-Power 
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System.

. . .
    In the NOPR we stated that a misoperating or miscoordinated 
reclosing relay may result in the reclosure of a Bulk-Power System 
element back onto a fault or that a misoperating or miscoordinated 
reclosing relay may fail to operate after a fault has been cleared, 
thus failing to restore the element to service. As a result, the 
reliability of the Bulk-Power System would be affected. In addition, 
misoperated or miscoordinated relays may result in damage to the 
Bulk-Power System. For example, a misoperation or miscoordination of 
a reclosing relay causing the reclosing of Bulk-Power System 
facilities into a permanent fault can subject generators to 
excessive shaft torques and winding stresses and expose circuit 
breakers to systems conditions less than optimal for correct 
operation, potentially damaging the circuit breaker.\9\
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    \9\ Id. PP 23-24 (footnotes excluded).

    6. Prior to issuance of Order No. 758, NERC had begun development 
of revisions to its initial maintenance standards for protection 
systems and underfrequency and undervoltage load shedding equipment in 
response to the Order No. 693 directives. Those revisions, reflected in 
a consolidated Reliability Standard, PRC-005-2, were approved by the 
Commission on December 24, 2013.\10\ In the order approving PRC-005-2, 
the Commission found that the revised standard represented an 
improvement over the four standards it would replace because it 
incorporated specific, required minimum maintenance activities and 
maximum time intervals for maintenance of individual components of the 
protection systems and load shedding equipment affecting the bulk 
electric system.\11\
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    \10\ Protection System Maintenance Reliability Standard, Order 
No. 793, 145 FERC ] 61,253 (2013).
    \11\ Id. P 2.
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B. NERC Petition and Proposed Standard PRC-005-3

    7. On February 14, 2014, NERC submitted a petition seeking approval 
of proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-3, developed in response to 
the Order No. 758 directive to include maintenance and testing of 
reclosing relays that can affect the reliable operation of the Bulk-
Power System.\12\ In its petition, NERC maintains that the proposed 
standard promotes reliability by making certain reclosing relays 
subject to a mandatory maintenance program, including adding detailed 
tables of minimum maintenance activities and maximum maintenance 
intervals for the reclosing relays. NERC explains that the purpose of 
PRC-005-3 is to ``document and implement programs for the maintenance 
of all Protection Systems and Automatic Reclosing affecting the 
reliability of the Bulk Electric System so that they are kept in 
working order.'' \13\
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    \12\ See NERC Petition at 2, 7.
    \13\ Id. at 8.
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    8. NERC explains that the subset of reclosing applications included 
in proposed PRC-005-3 is based on the findings of a technical study 
performed, in response to Order No. 758, by NERC's System Analysis and 
Modeling Subcommittee (SAMS) and System Protection and Control 
Subcommittee (SPCS). The resulting study (the Joint Committee Report) 
is attached to NERC's petition as Exhibit D, and examines both the 
scope of reclosing relays that could affect the reliable operation of 
the Bulk-Power System and appropriate maintenance intervals and 
activities for those relays.\14\
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    \14\ See id. at 3.

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[[Page 43989]]

    9. In its petition, NERC explains that reclosing relays are 
``utilized on transmission systems to restore elements to service 
following automatic circuit breaker tripping,'' and are ``typically 
installed to lessen the burden on Transmission operators of manually 
restoring transmission lines.''\15\ NERC explains that ``while more 
efficient restoration of transmission lines following temporary faults 
does provide an inherent reliability benefit, certain applications of 
reclosing relays can result in undesired relay operation or operation 
not consistent with relay design, leading to adverse reliability 
impacts.''\16\ After examining these potential reliability impacts, the 
Joint Committee Report recommended that the revised standard should:
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    \15\ Id. at 9 (citations to Joint Committee Report omitted).
    \16\ Id.

    (1) Explicitly address maintenance and testing of reclosing 
relays applied as an integral part of a Special Protection System; 
and (2) include maintenance and testing of reclosing relays at or in 
proximity to generating plants at which the total installed capacity 
is greater than the capacity of the largest generating unit within 
the Balancing Authority Area.\17\
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    \17\ Id. at 10.

    In addition, NERC explains that the Joint Committee Report 
recommended that ``proximity'' to these large generators be defined as 
``substations one bus away if the substation is within 10 miles of the 
plant.'' \18\
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    \18\ Id.
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    10. The Joint Committee Report recommendations are reflected in 
proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-3, which now includes the 
following among the applicable facilities:

    4.2.6.1 Automatic Reclosing applied on terminals of Elements 
connected to the BES bus located at generating plant substations 
where the total installed gross generating plant capacity is greater 
than the gross capacity of the largest BES generating unit within 
the Balancing Authority Area.
    4.2.6.2 Automatic Reclosing applied on the terminals of all BES 
Elements at substations one bus away from generating plants 
specified in Section 4.2.6.1 when the substation is less than 10 
circuit-miles from the generating plant substation.
    4.2.6.3 Automatic Reclosing applied as an integral part of an 
SPS specified in Section 4.2.4.\19\
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    \19\ Id., Ex. A at 1-2. In addition, relays that would otherwise 
be subject to the proposed standard under sections 4.2.6.1 and 
4.2.6.2 ``may be excluded if the equipment owner can demonstrate 
that a close-in three-phase fault present for twice the normal 
clearing time . . . does not result in a total loss of gross 
generation in the Interconnection exceeding the gross capacity of 
the largest BES generating unit within the Balancing Authority 
Area.''

    11. NERC explains that the Joint Committee Report examined two 
areas of concern, based on the Commission's statements in Order No. 
758. Specifically, the Joint Committee examined (1) situations in which 
reclosing relays fail to operate when required to maintain Bulk-Power 
System reliability, and (2) situations in which reclosing relays 
operate in a manner not consistent with design, adversely affecting 
reliability.\20\ As for the first category, NERC explains the Joint 
Committee Report recognized that ``[b]ecause the potential for 
permanent power system faults exists for any application, it is not 
possible to depend on successful reclosing relay operation as a sole 
means to guarantee reliability or satisfy the Requirements contained in 
Reliability Standards.'' \21\ However, the Joint Committee Report 
recognized one exception, where reclosing relays are included as an 
integral part of a Special Protection System. Accordingly, NERC 
proposes to include reclosing relays of Special Protection Systems 
under the revised standard's maintenance requirements, under 
Applicability section 4.2.6.3.
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    \20\ See NERC Petition at 10.
    \21\ Id. at 11.
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    12. With respect to the second category examined by the committees, 
i.e., situations in which reclosing relays operate in a manner not 
consistent with design, NERC notes that the Joint Committee Report 
found that ``premature reclosing has the potential to cause generating 
unit or plant instability,'' and that there could be an impact on the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System if the loss of generating 
resources exceeds the largest unit within the Balancing Authority 
Area.\22\ NERC explains that reclosing at transmission substations may 
affect the stability of generating units when applied in proximity to a 
generating plant, and that the Joint Committee Report therefore 
recommended including reclosing relays applied one bus away from these 
same generating stations when the substation is less than 10 circuit-
miles from the applicable generating plant substation. The Joint 
Committee Report indicated that generating units generally exhibit a 
stable response to a bus fault at the high-side of the generator step-
up transformer if the fault location is on the order of one mile, but 
recommended a 10-mile threshold in order to incorporate a significant 
safety factor.\23\
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    \22\ Id. at 15.
    \23\ Id. at 17.
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    13. As NERC explains in its petition, NERC staff conducted its own 
analysis of this definition of ``proximity,'' ``to verify that the 10-
mile threshold provides adequate margin to ensure maintenance and 
testing of all reclosing relays where failure could result in 
generating station instability.'' \24\ According to NERC, it performed 
tests at the high-voltage switchyard for 145 lines at 50 generating 
stations, using a sampling of generating stations and simulating a 
three-phase fault on each line. In addition, faults were simulated for 
a duration that NERC maintains ``conservatively represents'' two times 
the normal clearing time for a three-phase fault.\25\ NERC states that 
this test ``approximates the response if a transmission line circuit 
breaker is reclosed into a fault without any time delay due to a 
reclosing relay failure.'' \26\
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    \24\ Id. at 20.
    \25\ Id.
    \26\ Id.
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    14. NERC found that the generating unit response was stable for 110 
of the close-in faults; stable for faults at one mile from the 
generation station for 22 of the remaining 35 lines; and stable for 
faults five miles from the station for 10 of the remaining 13 lines. 
For the three remaining cases, two were associated with two 
transmission lines of approximately 120 miles leaving the same 
generating station. NERC indicates that it repeated its analysis at 
each remote bus at the remote terminal of those lines, and found that 
the generating units were stable for close-in three-phase faults on 
each line. The third case involved a two-mile line, and resulted in 
instability of the generating units for faults anywhere on the line. On 
further testing, NERC found that the generating units remained stable 
for close-in faults on each of the lines terminating at the remote bus 
of the two-mile line, ``confirming that the criterion is 
conservative.'' \27\
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    \27\ Id. at 21.
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    15. NERC proposes modifications to the language of Requirements R1, 
R3 and R4 of PRC-005-2 to reflect the inclusion of automatic reclosing 
relays.\28\ NERC also proposes to include a new definition as part of 
the revised standard, as follows:
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    \28\ Id.
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    Automatic Reclosing--Includes the following Components:
     Reclosing relay.
     Control circuitry associated with the reclosing relay.
    NERC states that the definition is intended for use within the 
proposed Reliability Standard only, and would not be incorporated into 
the NERC

[[Page 43990]]

Glossary of Terms.\29\ In addition, NERC proposes modifications to four 
defined terms referenced in PRC-005-2, Protection System Maintenance 
Plan, Component Type, Component, and Countable Event, to reflect the 
inclusion of automatic reclosing components. Finally, NERC proposes to 
revise the definitions of Unresolved Maintenance Issue and Segment, 
also currently referenced in PRC-005-2, to capitalize the reference to 
the defined term ``Component.''
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    \29\ Id. at 12.
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    16. NERC's proposed implementation plan for PRC-005-3 incorporates 
the phased-in implementation period approved for PRC-005-2, with the 
addition of compliance dates for the new requirements for automatic 
reclosing components. Accordingly, retirement of the legacy Reliability 
Standards (PRC-005-1b, PRC-008-0, PRC-011-0, PRC-017-0) will continue 
to ``key off'' the regulatory approval date for PRC-005-2, although 
PRC-005-2 itself will be retired in the United States immediately prior 
to the effective date of PRC-005-3, on the first day of the first 
calendar quarter twelve months following regulatory approval.\30\ 
According to NERC, applicable entities will continue to calculate 
compliance dates for Protection System Components by counting forward 
from the applicable regulatory approval date of PRC-005-2, and for 
Automatic Reclosing Components by counting forward from the effective 
date of Commission approval of PRC-005-3. Finally, for any newly 
identified Automatic Reclosing Components (e.g., resulting from the 
addition or retirement of generating units), compliance would be 
required by the end of the third calendar year following identification 
of those Components.
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    \30\ See id. at 22-24.
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    17. NERC states that the violation risk factors proposed in PRC-
005-3 track those in the currently approved standard PRC-005-2, and 
that the violation severity levels now include the additional component 
(Automatic Reclosing) in a manner consistent with the approach taken 
for PRC-005-2.

C. NERC Supplemental Filings

    18. On June 4, 2014, NERC submitted two additional filings in this 
docket: (1) proposed revisions to a violation severity level assigned 
to Requirement R1 in approved Reliability Standard PRC-005-2 and in 
proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-3; \31\ and (2) an errata to 
NERC's petition in this docket to reflect proper capitalization of 
defined terms as used in the proposed standard. NERC explains that the 
violation severity level revision reflects the change directed by the 
Commission when it approved PRC-005-2, in Order No. 793, regarding the 
failure to include station batteries in a time-based maintenance 
program. In accordance with that directive NERC has now assigned a 
``severe'' violation severity level to that failure for both PRC-005-2- 
and PRC-005-3.
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    \31\ The proposed violation severity level revision was also 
submitted in Docket No. RM13-7-000.
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II. Discussion

    19. Pursuant to section 215(d)(2) of the FPA, the Commission 
proposes to approve Reliability Standard PRC-005-3, one new definition 
and six revised definitions referenced in the proposed standard, the 
assigned violation risk factors and violation severity levels, and 
NERC's proposed implementation plan. Generally, the proposed 
Reliability Standard appears to adequately address the Commission 
directives from Order No. 758 with respect to the inclusion of 
reclosing relays in an adequate protection system maintenance program, 
and will enhance reliability by reducing the risk of autoreclosing 
relay misoperations by imposing minimum maintenance activities and 
maximum maintenance intervals for these relays.
    20. However, to further validate the scope of the proposed 
applicability, we propose to direct that NERC submit a report based on 
actual performance data and simulated system conditions from planning 
assessments, two years after the effective date of the proposed 
standard, which addresses whether the proposed Reliability Standard 
applies to an appropriate set of autoreclosing relays that can affect 
Bulk-Power System reliability. In addition, as discussed below, we 
propose to direct NERC to modify the proposed standard to include 
supervisory devices such as synchronism check (sync-check) and voltage 
relays.

A. Proposed Reporting on Effectiveness of PRC-005-3

    21. Consistent with the Commission's directive in Order No. 
758,\32\ proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-3 would expand the scope 
of the protection system maintenance standard requirements to apply to 
a limited subset of autoreclosing relays. As discussed above, the 
proposed Reliability Standard includes thresholds that are intended to 
limit the applicable set of reclosing relays to those that affect the 
reliable operation of the Bulk-Power System. For example, the proposed 
standard would mandate testing and maintenance of only those 
autoreclosing relays located within ten miles of a generation plant 
that has a greater gross capacity than the largest single generating 
unit in the Balancing Authority Area. NERC provides technical support 
for the applicability thresholds, both in the Joint Committee Report 
and the NERC study of the ten-mile threshold.\33\
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    \32\ See Order No. 758, 138 FERC ] 61,094 at P 23.
    \33\ See NERC Petition at 15-21 and Exh. D (Joint Committee 
Report) at 2-7.
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    22. While NERC provides support for the proposed thresholds, we 
nonetheless have concerns whether the thresholds are too narrow and 
that the standard therefore does not encompass a comprehensive set of 
autoreclosing relays that could affect the reliable operation of the 
Bulk-Power System. Thus, while we propose to approve the proposed 
Reliability Standard, we also propose that NERC submit a report, two 
years after the effective date of the standard, addressing the 
effectiveness of the autoreclosing provisions based on (1) actual 
operations data, and (2) simulated system conditions from planning 
assessments.
    23. With regard to actual operations data, we note that NERC has an 
ongoing effort that collects and analyses performance data regarding 
actual misoperations events, requiring the submission of data according 
to a set of specifications that includes misoperation categories and 
cause codes.\34\ We propose that NERC enhance the granularity of this 
database to gather relevant information regarding events that involve 
autoreclosing relays, such as distance from the fault, whether the 
relay reclosed into the fault, and whether that reclosure caused or 
exacerbated an event. Relevant information collected in this database 
could then be analyzed and submitted in the proposed report. We seek 
comment on this proposal, including whether this is the right/
meaningful data for the type of analysis we seek, and whether other 
types of granular data would be useful to analyze the impact of 
autoreclosing relays in system events. While we propose to have NERC

[[Page 43991]]

include this data in the report to be filed two years after this 
standard takes effect, we also propose to have NERC continue this 
enhancement of its data collection subsequently.
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    \34\ See http://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/Pages/Misoperations.aspx. 
Protection system misoperations are reported by transmission owners 
and generator owners via regional procedures based on the PRC-003-1 
standard requirements. Using a common template developed by the 
eight Regional Entities and NERC, misoperations of facilities 
operated at 100 kV and above are collected NERC-wide. NERC is 
proposing to continue collection of the data through the NERC ROP 
Section 1600 process immediately upon the retirement of the data 
reporting obligation in Reliability Standard PRC-004-2a. See http://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/ProctectionSystemMisoperations/Misoperations_Data_Request_for_Public_Comment.pdf.
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    24. Further, we believe that simulated contingency analyses, 
generated as part of required planning assessments, could serve as an 
appropriate benchmark or metric to assess whether the right set of 
autoreclosing relays is included in the proposed Reliability Standard, 
or whether further enhancements or modifications are appropriate to 
include those autoreclosing relays that affect reliable operation of 
the Bulk-Power System. As one possible approach, we believe it could be 
useful to be able to compare the set of reclosing relays identified by 
the thresholds set forth in proposed PRC-005-3 with the set of 
reclosing relays studied pursuant to approved Reliability Standard TPL-
001-4.\35\
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    \35\ Transmission Planning Reliability Standards, Order No. 786, 
145 FERC ] 61,051 (2013).
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    25. Requirement R4 of TPL-001-4 requires transmission planners and 
planning coordinators to perform contingency analyses that explicitly 
include an examination of the impact of high speed reclosing into a 
fault (both successful and unsuccessful), to ensure that system 
performance criteria can still be met (including ensuring no loss of 
generators outside of the protection zone). Specifically, Requirement 
R4 of TPL-001-4 states in relevant part that ``[e]ach Transmission 
Planner and Planning Coordinator shall perform the Contingency analyses 
listed in Table 1,'' and the sub-requirements of Requirement R4 require 
that the analysis include the following:

    The analyses shall include the impact of subsequent . . . 
[s]uccessful high speed (less than one second) reclosing and 
unsuccessful high speed reclosing into a Fault where high speed 
reclosing is utilized.\36\
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    \36\ Reliability Standard TPL-001-4, Requirement R4, R4.3.1 and 
R4.3.1.1.
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    26. While there may be valid reasons to differentiate between what 
should be studied under TPL-001-4 versus what must be maintained in the 
prescribed fashion under PRC-005-3, we believe the TPL-001-4 
contingency analysis could provide a meaningful check or benchmark to 
examine the validity of the applicability thresholds proposed in PRC-
005-3. Accordingly, we propose to require NERC to submit a report two 
years after the effective date of Reliability Standard PRC-005-3, 
comparing the set of reclosing relays identified as having an impact on 
reliability using the contingency analyses generated under TPL-001-4, 
versus the set of relays covered by PRC-005-3.
    27. We request that NERC and other commenters address whether the 
information expected to be generated pursuant to the contingency 
analyses required by Requirement R4 of TPL-001-4 could provide a 
meaningful metric or benchmark in analyzing the scope of PRC-005-3, 
i.e., whether PRC-005-3's thresholds include an appropriate set of 
autoreclosing relays that could affect the reliable operation of the 
Bulk-Power System. We seek comment on this proposal, including whether 
there are refinements that could improve this benchmark. Likewise, we 
seek comment whether NERC or other interested entities believe there is 
a more appropriate or more accurate benchmark or metric to achieve the 
purpose discussed above. We further seek comment on the potential 
burden associated with collecting and evaluating the information 
expected to be generated under TPL-001-4. While transmission planners 
will, in any case, be responsible for conducting the studies required 
under Requirement R4 of TPL-001-4, we seek to understand the 
incremental burden of collecting and analyzing this data for purposes 
of the proposed benchmarking and reporting. Likewise, commenters 
suggesting an alternative analysis that could serve as an appropriate 
benchmark or metric should include a discussion on the potential burden 
of the suggested alternative.

B. Supervisory Devices

    28. Proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-3 defines the components 
of an ``Automatic Reclosing'' device to include both the reclosing 
relay and its associated control circuitry. The proposed Reliability 
Standard does not include supervisory devices such as sync-check and/or 
voltage relays that may be critical to the operation of an 
autoreclosing scheme.\37\ In general, supervisory devices, like sync-
check relays, are applied to monitor voltages on both sides of a 
circuit breaker to allow autoreclosing for desirable conditions (e.g., 
proper phase angle and voltage) or block autoreclosing for undesirable 
conditions.
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    \37\ While NERC does not directly address this issue in its 
petition, in response to one commenter's requests for clarification 
during development of the standard, the standard drafting team noted 
that ``supervisory capability such as sync-check and line switch 
status are not included.'' NERC Petition, Exh. H (Summary of 
Development History and Complete Development Record) at 507.
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    29. The Joint Committee Report states that the NERC subcommittees 
dismissed the need to consider supervision failures because the 
committee believed supervisory device failure to be a small subset of 
autoreclosing failures.\38\ While, according to NERC, premature or 
undesired autoreclosing due to the failure of a supervisory element may 
in fact be a relatively small subset of autoreclosing failures, we are 
not persuaded to exclude such devices from the maintenance and testing 
requirements of proposed PRC-005-3. Notably, the Commission rejected 
almost identical arguments in Order No. 733, when it directed NERC to 
include supervisory relays as part of its Transmission Relay 
Loadability (TRL) standard:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \38\ See, e.g., NERC Petition, Exh. D (Joint Committee Report) 
at 6 (noting that premature autoreclosing has the potential to cause 
generating unit loss of life due to shaft fatigue, but concluding 
that supervisory failures need not be considered because 
``[p]remature autoreclosing due to a supervision failure is a small 
subset of autoreclosing failures'').

    Exelon asserts that the TRL Reliability Standard's goal is to 
address protective relays that have a history of contributing to 
cascades, and that relays enabled only when other relays or 
associated systems fail are extremely unlikely to be a factor in a 
disturbance because they are enabled so infrequently.
. . .

    [W]e disagree with those commenters that suggest that the 
Commission should approve section 3.1 because it excludes from the 
Reliability Standard's scope relays and protection systems that 
rarely operate. These commenters appear to suggest that protection 
systems that rarely operate do not pose a risk to the reliability of 
the Bulk-Power System. We disagree. A protective relay, as an 
integral part of the Bulk-Power System, must be dependable and 
secure; it must operate correctly when required to clear a fault and 
refrain from operating unnecessarily, i.e., during non-fault 
conditions or for faults outside of its zone of protection, 
regardless of how many times the relay must actually operate.\39\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ Transmission Relay Loadability Reliability Standard, Order 
No. 733, 130 FERC ] 61,221, at PP 257, 269 (2010).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    30. As we explained previously, supervisory devices essentially 
``supervise'' the actions of an autoreclosing scheme; i.e., allow 
autoreclosing for desirable conditions or block autoreclosing for 
undesirable conditions.\40\ The Joint Committee Report explains that, 
``failure of a synchronism check function may allow a close when static 
system angles are greater than designed, or inhibit a close when static 
system angles are less than designed.'' \41\ While we agree with the 
Joint Committee Report that a failure of a sync-check relay would not 
send a

[[Page 43992]]

signal to reclose into a fault, NERC has not explained in its petition 
how a failure of a sync-check relay for undesirable conditions, such as 
when static system angles are greater than designed, would not allow 
autoreclosing and consequently, the reliability concern that we 
discussed in Order No. 758.\42\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ See supra P 28.
    \41\ NERC Petition, Exh. D (Joint Committee Report) at 4.
    \42\ See Order No. 758, 138 FERC ] 61,094 at P 24.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    31. Moreover, the proposed exclusion of supervisory devices in PRC-
005-3 is inconsistent with other aspects of the Joint Committee Report 
regarding the overall function of autoreclosing relays, which 
explicitly recognized that ``there are a few main characteristics 
shared by most autoreclosing relays,'' and identified these as 
supervision functions, timing functions, and output functions.\43\ The 
Joint Committee Report also concluded that ``when analyzing 
autoreclosing relay failure modes, the functions described above are 
one of the most likely to lead to failure.'' \44\
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    \43\ NERC Petition, Exh. D (Joint Committee Report) at 3-4.
    \44\ Id. at 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    32. Accordingly, to address the concerns set forth here, we propose 
to direct that NERC develop modifications to PRC-005-3 that address our 
concerns regarding the appropriateness of including supervisory relays 
under the mandatory maintenance and testing provisions of the 
Reliability Standard.

III. Information Collection Statement

    33. The proposed Version 3 Reliability Standard, PRC-005-3, retains 
the same evidence retention requirements approved in the Version 2 
standard, PRC-005-2, requiring entities to maintain documentation of 
maintenance activities for the longer of (1) the two most recent 
performances of each distinct maintenance activity for the component; 
or (2) all performances of each distinct maintenance activity for the 
component since the previous scheduled audit date. Because the largest 
maintenance interval prescribed for certain kinds of components is 
twelve years, an entity may be required to retain its maintenance 
records up to 24 years (two maintenance cycles). Thus, the potential 
data retention requirement exceeds the three-year period that is 
routinely allowed for regulations requiring record retention, under the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations implementing the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).\45\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \45\ See 5 CFR 1320.5(d)(2)(iv).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    34. However, the PRA regulations allow the Commission to approve a 
standard that requires record retention for more than three years if 
necessary to satisfy statutory requirements (e.g. of FPA section 215) 
or based on other ``substantial need:'' (d)(2) Unless the agency is 
able to demonstrate, in its submission for OMB clearance, that such 
characteristic of the collection of information is necessary to satisfy 
statutory requirements or other substantial need, OMB will not approve 
a collection of information-- . . . (iv) Requiring respondents to 
retain records, other than health, medical, government contract, grant-
in-aid, or tax records, for more than three years).\46\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    35. In its petition, NERC explains that the two maintenance cycle 
evidence retention period ``assures that documentation is available to 
show that the time between maintenance cycles correctly meets the 
maintenance interval limits.'' \47\ In addition, NERC maintains that 
the data that must be retained are ``the usual and customary documents 
maintained by these entities today to document maintenance 
internally.'' \48\ Moreover, NERC explains that ``shortening the time 
period for retention would require that the maintenance intervals be 
reduced as well, which would significantly increase capital maintenance 
costs since entities would need to maintain Components under tighter 
time constraints.'' \49\ Because of these factors, NERC concludes that 
the burden of evidence retention under the proposed standard would be 
``minimal compared to the increased capital costs that would result 
from shortening the intervals to create a shorter maximum retention 
time.'' \50\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ NERC Petition at 25, & n. 45 (citing to Exh. E 
(Supplementary Reference and FAQ Document) at 39).
    \48\ Id. at 25-26.
    \49\ Id. at 26.
    \50\ Id. NERC notes that it has requested that the standard 
drafting team currently working on another revision to the PRC-005 
standard consider possible alternatives to the evidence retention 
period of at least two maintenance cycles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    36. We agree with NERC that the data retention obligations appear 
to be negligible as compared to the benefit and reduced cost of a 
longer maintenance interval for the highly reliable components that are 
subject to such lengthy data retention requirements, and note that the 
data retention provisions were developed by industry experts and 
subject to approval by stakeholder vote. However, we seek comment 
regarding the reasonableness of the proposed data retention 
obligations. Specifically, for relays with a 12-year maintenance cycle, 
the Commission seeks comment from NERC and other interested entities 
whether: (a) there is substantial need to keep the maintenance records 
for two cycles, and (b) retaining these types of records for 24 years 
is overly burdensome or costly. In addition, we seek comment as to 
whether entities would keep maintenance records for a similar time 
frame even if it were not required under PRC-005-3. Finally, we seek 
comment on any alternatives to the two maintenance cycle/24 year record 
retention approach which could prove to be less costly and burdensome, 
or more effective. To the extent such alternatives are identified, we 
seek information on the associated costs and benefits of the 
alternative approach.
    37. The following collection of information contained in this 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is subject to review by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995.\51\ OMB's regulations require approval of 
certain information collection requirements imposed by agency 
rules.\52\ Upon approval of a collection(s) of information, OMB will 
assign an OMB control number and an expiration date. Respondents 
subject to the filing requirements of a 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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ 44 U.S.C. 3507(d) (2006).
    \52\ 5 CFR 1320.11 (2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    38. We solicit comments on the Commission's need for this 
information, whether the information will have practical utility, the 
accuracy of the burden estimates, ways to enhance the quality, utility, 
and clarity of the information to be collected or retained, and any 
suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including the use 
of automated information techniques. Specifically, the Commission asks 
that any revised burden or cost estimates submitted by commenters be 
supported by sufficient detail to understand how the estimates are 
generated.
    39. The Commission proposes to approve Reliability Standard PRC-
005-3, which will replace PRC-005-2 (Protection System Maintenance). 
The proposed Reliability Standard expands the existing standard to 
cover reclosing schemes that meet certain criteria, imposing mandatory 
minimum maintenance activities and maximum maintenance intervals for 
the various reclosing scheme components. Because the specific 
requirements were designed to reflect common industry practice, 
entities are not expected to experience a meaningful change in actual

[[Page 43993]]

maintenance and documentation practices. However, applicable entities 
will have to perform a one-time review of their reclosing schemes to 
determine which ones fall under PRC-005-3, and, if they have applicable 
reclosing schemes, review current reclosing scheme maintenance programs 
to ensure that they meet the requirements of the proposed standard PRC-
005-3. Accordingly, all information collection costs are expected to be 
limited to the first year of implementation of the revised standard.
    40. Public Reporting Burden: Our estimate below regarding the 
number of respondents is based on an analysis of the generating plants 
within the footprint of the PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM) that meet 
the inclusion criteria of the proposed standard. There are an estimated 
23 generating plants in PJM that meet these criteria. These generating 
plants represent approximately 47,000 MW's of the approximately 184,000 
MWs within PJM. Based on 2012 data, total installed capacity in the 
continental United States is 1,153,000 MWs.\53\ Applying the PJM ratio 
to this total results in 144 plant sites nationwide to which PRC-005-3 
would be applicable. We also assume that a substation will be located 
within 10 miles of each plant site, resulting in an estimated total 
number of entities that meet the inclusion criteria of 288.\54\ 
Finally, we assume that all generator owners (GOs) and transmission 
owners (TOs) must review their existing plant and substation sites to 
determine applicability under the proposed standard.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ See http://search.usa.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=eia.doe.gov&query=generation+capacity+all+states&search=Submit and http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual/html/epa_08_07_a.html.
    \54\ This estimate conservatively assumes that the proximate 
substation would be owned by a different entity than the generating 
plant.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    41. Affected entities must perform a one-time review of their 
existing reclosing scheme maintenance program to ensure that it 
contains at a minimum the activities listed in Table 4 in Reliability 
Standard PRC-005-3, and that the activities are performed within the 
applicable maximum interval listed in Table 4. If the existing 
reclosing scheme maintenance program does not meet the criteria in 
Reliability Standard PRC-005-3, the entity will have to make certain 
adjustments to the program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \55\ This figure is the average of the salary plus benefits for 
a manager and an engineer (rounded to the nearest dollar). The 
figures are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at (http://bls.gov/oes/current/naics3_221000.htm).
    \56\ Based on the NERC Compliance Registry as of May 28, 2014.

 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Average number
              Requirement                  Number of affected      of hours per    Total burden     Total cost
                                                entities              review           hours
                                        (1).....................             (2)             (3)             (5)
                                                                                         (1)*(2)    (3)*$73 \55\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One-time review of existing plant and   937 (GOs and TOs) \56\..               2           1,874        $136,802
 substation sites to determine which
 ones fall under PRC-005-3.
One-time review and adjustment of       288 (subset of GOs and                 8           2,304         168,192
 existing program.                       TOs).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Title: FERC-725P, Mandatory Reliability Standards: Reliability 
Standard PRC-005-3.
    Action: Proposed Collection of Information.
    OMB Control No: 1902-0269.
    Respondents: Business or other for-profit and not-for-profit 
institutions.
    Frequency of Responses: One time.
    Necessity of the Information: The proposed Reliability Standard 
PRC-005-3, if adopted, would implement the Congressional mandate of the 
Energy Policy Act of 2005 to develop mandatory and enforceable 
Reliability Standards to better ensure the reliability of the nation's 
Bulk-Power System. Specifically, the proposal would ensure that 
transmission and generation protection systems affecting the 
reliability of the bulk electric system are maintained and tested.
    42. Internal review: The Commission has reviewed revised 
Reliability Standard PRC-005-3 and made a determination that approval 
of this standard is necessary to implement section 215 of the FPA. The 
Commission has assured itself, by means of its internal review, that 
there is specific, objective support for the burden estimates 
associated with the information requirements.
    43. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting 
requirements by contacting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 
Office of the Executive Director, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 
20426 [Attention: Ellen Brown, email: DataClearance@ferc.gov, phone: 
(202) 502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873].
    44. Comments concerning the information collections proposed in 
this NOPR and the associated burden estimates, should be sent to the 
Commission in this docket and may also be sent to the Office of 
Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs 
[Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]. 
For security reasons, comments should be sent by email to OMB at the 
following email address: oira_submission@omb.eop.gov. Please reference 
the docket number of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Docket No. 
RM14-8-000) in your submission.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    45. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \57\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of Proposed Rules that will have 
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.\58\ The SBA 
recently revised its size standard for electric utilities (effective 
January 22, 2014) to a standard based on the number of employees, 
including affiliates (from a standard based on megawatt hours).\59\ 
Under SBA's new size standards, generator owners and transmission 
owners are likely included in one of the following categories (with the 
associated size thresholds noted for each):\60\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \57\ 5 U.S.C. 601-12.
    \58\ 13 CFR 121.101 (2013).
    \59\ SBA Final Rule on ``Small Business Size Standards: 
Utilities,'' 78 FR 77343 (Dec. 23, 2013).
    \60\ 13 CFR 121.201, Sector 22, Utilities.


[[Page 43994]]


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 Hydroelectric power generation, at 500 employees
 Fossil fuel electric power generation, at 750 employees
 Nuclear electric power generation, at 750 employees
 Other electric power generation (e.g., solar, wind, 
geothermal, biomass, and other), at 250 employees
 Electric bulk power transmission and control, at 500 employees
    46. Based on U.S. economic census data,\61\ the approximate 
percentages of small firms in these categories vary from 24 percent to 
84 percent. However, currently FERC does not have information on how 
the economic census data compare with the specific entities affected by 
this proposed rule using the new SBA definitions.\62\ Regardless, FERC 
recognizes that the rule will likely impact some small entities and 
estimates the economic impact below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \61\ Data and further information are available from SBA at 
http://www.sba.gov/advocacy/849/12162.
    \62\ For utilities in the SBA's subsector 221, the previous SBA 
definition stated that ``[a] firm is small if, including its 
affiliates, it is primarily engaged in the generation, transmission, 
and/or distribution of electric energy for sale and its total 
electric output for the preceding fiscal year did not exceed 4 
million megawatt hours.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    47. As discussed above, proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-3 
would apply to 144 generating plant sites and 144 sub-stations that are 
located within 10 miles of the plant site. In addition, we estimate 
that all GOs and TOs will initially review plant and substation sites 
to determine applicability with the proposed standard.
    48. On average, each small entity affected may have a one-time cost 
of $730 per site, representing a one-time review of the program for 
each entity, consisting of 10 man-hours at $73/hour as explained above 
in the information collection statement. We do not consider this cost 
to be a significant economic impact for small entities. Accordingly, 
the Commission certifies that proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-3 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The Commission seeks comment on this certification.

V. Environmental Analysis

    49. 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.\63\ 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.\64\ The actions proposed 
herein fall within this categorical exclusion in the Commission's 
regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \63\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 30,783 (1987).
    \64\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. Comment Procedures

    50. 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 September 29, 2014. Comments must refer to 
Docket No. RM14-8-000, and must include the commenter's name, the 
organization they represent, if applicable, and address.
    51. 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.
    52. 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.
    53. 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

    54. 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 business hours 
(8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, 
Washington, DC 20426.
    55. 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.
    56. 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.

    Issued: July 17, 2014.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2014-17230 Filed 7-28-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P