Enforcement

SERC Enforcement is responsible for resolving violations of the NERC Reliability Standards and the SERC Regional Reliability Standards. SERC Enforcement is bound by the NERC Rules of Procedure (ROP) and strives to be independent, without conflict of interest, objective, and fair in resolving Enforcement actions.

Requesting Settlement Negotiations

At any time, a registered entity may request settlement negotiations for Possible Violations of the NERC Reliability Standards or the SERC Regional Reliability Standards. The registered entity should submit the request on company letterhead using the Settlement Request Template


Penalties and Sanctions

SERC Enforcement uses the principles listed in the NERC Sanction Guidelines (Appendix 4B of the NERC ROP) to determine appropriate and fair penalties and/or sanctions for violations of the NERC Reliability Standards and/or the SERC Regional Reliability Standards.


Filing Process

SERC Enforcement uses two means of resolving violations of the NERC Reliability Standards. A Notice of Penalty (NOP) is reserved for serious risk violations, intentional violations, or significant compliance failures. A spreadsheet Notice of Penalty (SNOP) is used for lesser risk violations that do not qualify for the Find, Fix, Track and Report (FFT) or Compliance Exception process. 

After a NOP or SNOP is filed with FERC, FERC has 30 days to issue an order indicating it will review the enforcement action. In most cases, FERC will issue an order of no further review. At that point, SERC will notify the registered entity and issue an invoice for payment of the penalty, if any. 

After SERC has confirmed that the registered entity has mitigated all of the violations within an enforcement action and taken all other steps required by the settlement agreement, SERC will notify the registered entity that the enforcement action is closed. SERC will release any associated data retention requirements.

 

Hearings

If SERC and a registered entity cannot reach a settlement agreement to resolve violations of the NERC Reliability Standards and/or the SERC Regional Reliability Standards, SERC will issue a Notice of Alleged Violation (NAV), which starts the process in which the registered entity must respond within certain timeframes (see Section 5.3 of Appendix 4C of the NERC ROP). 

A registered entity can contest the proposed penalty or sanction, or both the Alleged Violation and proposed penalty or sanction, pursuant to the steps identified in Section 5.4 of Appendix 4C of the NERC ROP. If SERC and the registered entity cannot resolve all issues within a specified time, the registered entity may request a hearing. The hearing process is set forth in Attachment 2 to Appendix 4C of the NERC ROP.

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