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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 2PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 25SUBSTANTIVE RULES APPLICABLE TO ELECTRIC SERVICE PROVIDERS
SUBCHAPTER CINFRASTRUCTURE AND RELIABILITY
RULE §25.55Weather Emergency Preparedness

      (iii) ERCOT, in consultation with commission staff, will determine the final cure period after considering a request for a different amount of time.

    (C) ERCOT must report to commission staff any generation entity that does not remedy the deficiencies identified under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph within the cure period determined by ERCOT under subparagraph (B)(iii) of this paragraph.

    (D) A generation entity reported by ERCOT to commission staff under subparagraph (C) of this paragraph will be subject to enforcement investigation under §22.246 (relating to Administrative Penalties) of this title.

(e) Weather-related failures by a generation entity to provide service. A generation entity with a resource that experiences repeated or major weather-related forced interruptions of service, such as forced outages, derates, or maintenance-related outages must contract with a qualified professional engineer to assess its weather emergency preparation measures, plans, procedures, and operations. The qualified professional engineer must not be an employee of the generation entity or its affiliate and must not have participated in previous assessments for the resource for at least five years, unless the generation entity can document that no other qualified professional engineers are reasonably available for engagement. The generation entity must submit the qualified professional engineer's assessment to the commission and ERCOT. ERCOT must adopt rules that specify the circumstances for which this requirement applies and specify the scope and contents of the assessment. A generation entity to which this subsection applies may be subject to additional inspections by ERCOT. ERCOT must refer to commission staff for investigation any generation entity that violates this rule.

(f) Weather emergency preparedness reliability standards for a TSP.

  (1) By December 1, 2021, a TSP must complete the following winter weather preparations for its transmission system and facilities.

    (A) Use best efforts to implement weather emergency preparation measures intended to ensure the sustained operation of all cold weather critical components during winter weather conditions, including weatherization, staffing plans, operational readiness, and structural preparations; secure sufficient chemicals, auxiliary fuels, and other materials; and personnel required to operate the transmission system and facilities;

    (B) Confirm the ability of all systems and subsystems containing cold weather critical components required to ensure operation of each of the TSP's substations within the design and operating limitations addressed in subparagraph (G) of this paragraph;

    (C) Use best efforts to address cold weather critical component failures that occurred because of winter weather conditions in the period between November 30, 2020 and March 1, 2021;

    (D) Provide training on winter weather preparations and operations to relevant operational personnel;

    (E) Confirm that the sulfur hexafluoride gas in breakers and metering and other electrical equipment is at the correct pressure and temperature to operate safely during winter weather emergencies, and perform annual maintenance that tests sulfur hexafluoride breaker heaters and supporting circuitry to assure that they are functional;

    (F) Confirm the operability of power transformers and auto transformers in winter weather emergencies by:

      (i) Checking heaters in the control cabinets;

      (ii) Verifying that main tank oil levels are appropriate for actual oil temperature;

      (iii) Checking bushing oil levels; and

      (iv) Checking the nitrogen pressure, if necessary.

    (G) Determine minimum design temperature or minimum experienced operating temperature, and other operating limitations based on temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction for facilities containing cold weather critical components.

  (2) By December 1, 2021, a TSP must submit to the commission and ERCOT, on a form prescribed by ERCOT and developed in consultation with commission staff, a winter weather readiness report that:

    (A) Describes all activities engaged in by the TSP to complete the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection, including any assertions of good cause for noncompliance submitted under paragraph (4) of this subsection; and

    (B) Includes a notarized attestation sworn to by the TSP's highest-ranking representative, official, or officer with binding authority over the TSP, attesting to the completion of all activities described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, subject to any notice of or request for good cause exception submitted under paragraph (4) of this subsection, and to the accuracy and veracity of the information described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

  (3) No later than December 10, 2021, ERCOT must file with the commission a compliance report that addresses whether each TSP has submitted the winter weather readiness report required by paragraph (2) of this subsection for its transmission system and facilities and whether the TSP submitted an assertion of good cause for noncompliance under paragraph (4) of this subsection.

  (4) Good cause exception. A TSP may submit to the commission by December 1, 2021 a notice asserting good cause for noncompliance with specific requirements listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection. The notice must be submitted as part of the TSP's winter weather readiness report under paragraph (2) of this subsection.

    (A) A TSP's notice must include:

      (i) A succinct explanation and supporting documentation of the TSP's inability to comply with a specific requirement of paragraph (1) of this subsection;

      (ii) A succinct description and supporting documentation of the efforts that have been made to comply with the requirement; and

      (iii) A plan, with supporting documentation, to comply with each specific requirement of paragraph (1) of this subsection for which good cause is being asserted, unless good cause exists not to comply with the requirement on a permanent basis. A plan under this subparagraph must include a proposed compliance deadline for each requirement of paragraph (1) of this subsection for which good cause for noncompliance is being asserted and proposed filing deadlines for the TSP to provide the commission with updates on the TSP's compliance status.

    (B) Commission staff will work with ERCOT to expeditiously review notices asserting good cause for noncompliance. Commission staff may notify a TSP that it disagrees with the TSP's assertion of good cause and will file the notification in the project in which the winter weather readiness reports are filed. In addition, ERCOT may evaluate the TSP's assertion of good cause as part of an inspection of the transmission facility.

    (C) To preserve a good cause exception, a TSP must submit to the commission a request for approval of a good cause exception within seven days of receipt of commission staff's notice of staff's disagreement with the TSP's assertion.

    (D) The commission may order a TSP to submit a request for approval of good cause exception.

    (E) A request for approval of good cause exception must contain the following:

      (i) A detailed explanation and supporting documentation of the inability of the TSP to comply with the specific requirement of paragraph (1) of this subsection;

      (ii) A detailed description and supporting documentation of the efforts that have been made to comply with paragraph (1) of this subsection;

      (iii) A plan, with supporting documentation, to comply with each specific requirement of paragraph (1) of this subsection for which the good cause exception is being requested, unless the TSP is seeking a permanent exception to the requirement. A plan under this subparagraph must include a proposed compliance deadline for each requirement of paragraph (1) of this subsection for which the good cause exception is being requested and proposed filing deadlines for the TSP to provide the commission with updates on its compliance status;

      (iv) Proof that notice of the request has been provided to ERCOT; and

      (v) A notarized attestation sworn to by the TSP's highest-ranking representative, official, or officer with binding authority over the TSP attesting to the accuracy and veracity of the information in the request.

    (F) ERCOT is a required party to the proceeding under subparagraph (E) of this paragraph. ERCOT must make a recommendation to the commission on the request by the deadline set forth by the presiding officer in the proceeding.

(g) ERCOT inspections of transmission systems and facilities.

  (1) ERCOT-conducted inspections. ERCOT must conduct inspections of transmission facilities within the fence surrounding a TSP's high-voltage switching station or substation for the 2021-2022 winter weather season and must prioritize its inspection schedule based on risk level. ERCOT may prioritize inspections based on factors such as whether a transmission facility is critical for electric grid reliability; has experienced a forced outage or other failure related to weather emergency conditions; or has other vulnerabilities related to weather emergency conditions. ERCOT must determine, in consultation with commission staff, the number, extent, and content of inspections and may conduct inspections using both employees and contractors.

    (A) ERCOT must provide each TSP at least 48 hours' notice of an inspection unless otherwise agreed by the TSP and ERCOT. Upon provision of the required notice, a TSP must grant access to its facility to ERCOT and commission personnel, including an employee of a contractor designated by ERCOT or the commission to conduct, oversee, or observe the inspection.

    (B) During the inspection, a TSP must provide ERCOT and commission personnel access to any part of the facility upon request and must make the TSP's staff available to answer questions. A TSP may escort ERCOT and commission personnel at all times during an inspection. During the inspection, ERCOT and commission personnel may take photographs and video recordings of any part of the facility and may conduct interviews of facility personnel designated by the TSP.

  (2) ERCOT inspection report.

    (A) ERCOT must provide a report on its inspection of a transmission system or facility to the TSP. The inspection report must address whether the TSP has complied with the requirements in subsection (f)(1) of this section.

    (B) If the TSP has not complied with a requirement in subsection (f)(1) of this section, ERCOT must provide the TSP a reasonable period to cure the identified deficiencies.

      (i) The cure period determined by ERCOT must consider what weather emergency preparation measures the TSP may be reasonably expected to have taken before ERCOT's inspection, the reliability risk of the TSP's noncompliance, and the complexity of the measures needed to cure the deficiency.

      (ii) The TSP may request ERCOT determine a different amount of time to remedy the deficiencies. The request must be accompanied by documentation that supports the request for a different amount of time.

      (iii) ERCOT, in consultation with commission staff, will determine the final cure period after considering a request for a different amount of time.

    (C) ERCOT must report to commission staff any TSP that does not remedy the deficiencies identified under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph within the cure period determined by ERCOT under subparagraph (B)(iii) of this paragraph.

    (D) A TSP reported by ERCOT to commission staff under subparagraph (C) of this paragraph will be subject to enforcement investigation under §22.246 (relating to Administrative Penalties) of this title.

(h) Weather-related failures by a TSP to provide service. A TSP with a transmission system or facility that experiences repeated or major weather-related forced interruptions of service must contract with a qualified professional engineer to assess its weather emergency preparation measures, plans, procedures, and operations. The qualified professional engineer must not be an employee of the TSP or its affiliate and must not have participated in previous assessments for this system or facility for at least five years, unless the TSP can document that no other qualified professional engineers are reasonably available for engagement. The TSP must submit the qualified professional engineer's assessment to the commission and ERCOT. ERCOT must adopt rules that specify the circumstances for which this requirement applies and specify the scope and contents of the assessment. A TSP to which this subsection applies may be subject to additional inspections by ERCOT. ERCOT must refer to commission staff for investigation any TSP that violates this rule.


Source Note: The provisions of this §25.55 adopted to be effective November 10, 2021, 46 TexReg 7573

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