Report finds improved grid resilience to severe weather, increased cyber and physical security risks

Published on June 19, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

The 2017 edition of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) State of Reliability report found while resilience to extreme weather continued and protection system misoperations declined
in the bulk power system, cyber and physical security risks increased.

The study is based on analysis of data and metrics, which NERC uses to examine trends, identify potential risks, determine priorities and develop mitigation strategies.

“This year’s report found that the bulk power system provided an adequate level of reliability during 2016.” James Merlo, vice president and director of Reliability Risk Management at NERC, said. “This analysis helps NERC and industry determine the effectiveness of mitigation efforts and provides recommendations
to maintain a reliable and secure grid.”

According to the report, protection system misoperations declined for the fourth year in a row, dropping to 8.7 percent from 9.5 percent in 2015. The three most common causes, incorrect settings/logic/design errors, relay failure/malfunctions, and communication failures, of misoperations remained the same. NERC recommended a continued focus on regional education and outreach as well as training efforts with stakeholders to address this issue.

While no cyber or physical security incidents that resulted in a loss of load were reported in 2016, NERC found that those threats are increasing and becoming more serious over time.

Although there were days of extreme weather, resiliency against severe weather improved for the second year in a row.