Newest Regional Reliability Council Ready for January 2006 Launch


The nation's newest regional reliability council, ReliabilityFirst, has been approved by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) Members and Board of Trustees and plans to begin full operations on Jan. 1, 2006.

The NERC action found that ReliabilityFirst, which was incorporated June 15, 2005, meets all the requirements of a regional reliability entity necessary to ensure reliability among its members, according to the NERC resolution.

The portions of the network covered by ReliabilityFirst are currently in the East Central Area Reliability Council (ECAR), Mid-America Interconnected Network (MAIN) and the Mid-Atlantic Area Council (MAAC). These councils will turn over regional responsibilities when ReliabilityFirst becomes operational and will wind down other operations in early 2006.

“We are pleased to welcome ReliabilityFirst as NERC's newest regional reliability council,” said NERC CEO Richard Sergel. “Consolidation of the regions will lead to a more consistent application of electric system rules and procedures over a broad geographic area of North America.”

ReliabilityFirst will monitor compliance to technical standards for electric companies, independent power producers, load entities, electric transmission companies and others who contribute to or manage power on the electric grid.

ReliabilityFirst covers a region that spans 13 states and the District of Columbia, encompassing mainly the Mid-Atlantic and central areas of the United States—a portion of the electric grid that covers nearly 40% of the eastern interconnected electric network.

"Working together, a diverse group of organizations committed to electric system reliability created and brought to fruition a plan for ReliabilityFirst to ensure electric grid reliability for years to come. It's the validation of an industry voluntary consensus process, achieving a long-range vision about effectively overseeing reliability of the electric system," said ReliabilityFirst interim president Brant Eldridge.

ReliabilityFirst was organized to develop regional standards for reliable planning and operation of the regional electric power system and provide non- discriminatory compliance monitoring and enforcement of both NERC and ReliabilityFirst standards in its region.

Over 50 membership applications have been received to date. ReliabilityFirst is continuing to accept applications from electric system owners, users, and operators that affect bulk system reliability over this broad geographic region.

Currently, the project team launching the new council is completing tasks toward the start-up on Jan. 1, 2006, including hiring staff for the organization and addressing tasks related to the transition.

Upon approval by the North American Electric Reliability Council, ReliabilityFirst will replace three existing regional councils, the East Central Area Reliability Council, Mid-America Interconnected Network and Mid- Atlantic Area Council. A fourth council, the Midwest Reliability Organization has also participated in the formation of ReliabilityFirst. The target date for ReliabilityFirst operation is Jan. 1, 2006.

For more information about ReliabilityFirst or to apply for membership, see .

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