December 15, 2016

Given the importance of control centers that continuously monitor and control the generation and transmission power flows on the bulk electric system (BES), their infrastructures, and the tools utilized therein, a variety of methods are employed to ensure these critical capabilities remain available and operational during both normal and emergency situations.  Due to the significance and complexity of these systems and their configurations, operating entities have documented plans to address loss of critical capabilities and to facilitate coordinated operations, even during extreme conditions.

The North American Transmission Forum (NATF) formed a team of subject-matter experts from NATF member organizations to document the industry’s current capabilities and potential needs if an area’s control center capabilities were lost due to a catastrophic event.  The “NATF BES Monitoring and Control – An Overview of Backup Capabilities” document is the initial product of the effort.  It provides an overview of the key capabilities for the reliable operation of the BES, along with a description of the various approaches used within the industry to ensure redundancy for critical capabilities so that System Operators are able to continuously monitor and control the BES in the event of the loss of primary control center capabilities.  The project team is now at work on a related document regarding current and needed capabilities for non-traditional hazards.

For the benefit of regulators and the industry at large, the NATF has posted the overview document to the Documents section of its public website (www.natf.net).