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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) completed the penalty-setting matrix for violations of mandatory electric reliability standards when it approved assignments of violation severity levels (VSL) proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) for the 83 FERC-approved reliability standards.

A VSL is a post-violation measurement of the degree to which a requirement was violated and will be used by NERC and the regional entities in the determination of a monetary penalty for the violation.

"It was one year ago that we put the mandatory reliability standards into place to ensure the protection of the bulk-power electric system in this country," says FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher. "Today's approval of violation severity levels enhances our ability to enforce the Standards. We will continue to use all of our abilities to protect and improve grid reliability while providing for consistent, effective enforcement."

In addition, FERC has established guidelines for evaluating the validity of VSL assignments to ensure consistent and objective assessments. The guidelines state that VSL assignments should:

- not have the unintended consequence of lowering the current level of compliance,

- ensure uniformity and consistency among all approved reliability standards in the determination of penalties,

- be consistent with the corresponding requirement, and

- be based on a single violation.

SOURCE: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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