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North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC)

Definition: What is NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation)?

North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is an institution that oversees and regulates the reliability of the North American electrical grids. It is the federally recognized Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) which means that it is responsible for developing and enforcing reliability standards; creating annual and 10-year assessments for winter and summer forecasts; monitoring the bulk power system and educating, training and certifying industry personnel. 

NERC is a self-regulated organization. In June 2007, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted NERC the legal authority to enforce reliability standards with all users, owners and operators of the bulk power system in the United States. Compliance with those standards is mandatory and enforceable in the United States, Ontario and New Brunswick. NERC is currently seeking authority in the other Canadian provinces and Mexico. .

If a U.S. power company is found to be non-compliant with NERC reliability standards, enforcement actions include NERC-overseen rectification of the non-compliant company's issues, as well as fines levied on a sliding scale, proportional to the company's degree of non-compliance.

Part of this definition is reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Energy.  Visit the official DOE website for more information on Smart Grids initiatives. 

Learn more:

NERC CIP training: Understanding 'critical cyber asset identification'
To pass Critical Infrastructure Protection standards, utilities must ensure that all critical assets and cyber assets are both properly identified and protected. Ernie Hayden explains how to get the process done right the first time.

Getting to know the NERC CIP standards
Recently imposed security regulations on the electric grid have electric utilities scrambling to become compliant. Solution providers can offer a valuable service to these utilities by becoming familiar with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) CIP standards, which are mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

This was last updated in March 2010
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