Reliability Standards Framework
Compliance with reliability standards has always been mandatory and enforceable in Ontario through the Market Rules. Since 2007, the United States and other Canadian provinces have issued legislation to adopt mandatory and enforceable reliability standards—one of the key recommendations resulting from the August 14, 2003 blackout.
The recognized standards authorities, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC), define the reliability requirements for planning and operating the interconnected North American bulk electric system.
Memorandums of Understanding with NERC and NPCC
The Ontario reliability standards framework has been designed and is implemented according to the mutual understandings set out in the memorandums of understanding below, namely:
- NERC is the Electricity Reliability Organization (ERO) for North America
- NERC and NPCC have been recognized as standards authorities by the Ontario Government
- IESO enforces NERC reliability standards and NPCC criteria through the Market Rules
- IESO implements compliance monitoring and enforcement processes in Ontario for NERC reliability standards and NPCC criteria. The IESO's Market Assessment and Compliance Division (MACD) manages the enforcement process.
- NPCC monitors the IESO for compliance with NERC reliability standards and NPCC criteria
- Market participants will be solely accountable to the IESO for compliance with NERC reliability standards and NPCC criteria
Read Memorandum of Understanding between Independent Electricity System Operator, North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council Inc.
Read Memorandum of Understanding between Ontario Energy Board and North American Electric Reliability Corporation.
IESO's role in standards development
The IESO is actively involved in the ongoing development of standards and criteria by NERC and NPCC relating to reliability of the integrated power system, particularly for those of greater relevance to Ontario. This authority is granted under the Electricity Act, 1998.
NERC reliability standards development process
NERC, acting as the ERO, manages an open and transparent standards development process that governs the development, modification or withdrawal of electric reliability standards that apply to the bulk electric system in North America.
This ANSI-accredited process allows owners, operators and users of the bulk power system, to participate in the development of reliability standards by reviewing, contributing comments and voting to approve these draft standards. For more on this process, see the latest version of NERC’s Standard Processes Manual on the NERC website.
If approved, these standards are filed with the relevant government authorities for the regulatory reviews applicable to each jurisdiction—in Ontario, that authority is the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). Within seven days of receiving notification of the approval of a reliability standard, the IESO will post the standard on its website. This triggers the OEB review process.
NPCC criteria development process
NPCC has the authority to develop reliability criteria that are more stringent and more specific than the corresponding NERC reliability standards requirements. These criteria and requirements are stated in regional standards and regional reliability directories, which are developed through a process that is similar to the NERC standards development process. Visit the NPCC website for more information on the NPCC standard development processes.
Reliability Standards Standing Committee
Through the IESO’s Reliability Standards Standing Committee, market participants have the opportunity engage in the development of reliability standards that could have an impact on Ontario's electricity industry. This forum is used to discuss and develop consensus comments on new and evolving reliability standards.
See Reliability Standards Standing Committee for meetings and materials.
NPCC and NERC reliability assessment submissions
The IESO regularly submits information to both NPCC and NERC that assists with their assessment of the reliability of the North American bulk electric system. See NPCC Seasonal Assessment Reports.