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FERC Order 881 - What does this mean for your utility?

If you have anything to do with NERC FAC-008 then you are likely aware of the recent FERC Order 881 and how the new statutory requirements will make managing line ratings even more challenging.

If you are not familiar with any of this, yet you work in the electric utility industry, then know that the recent Order is regarding extended requirements for how transmission owners document the ratings of their transmission equipment.

In reading over and familiarizing ourselves with Order 881, a few things stuck out in how this will impact utilities: 

  1. Utilities will need to start reporting seasonal/ambient adjusted ratings.
  2. Utilities will need to manage a more granular set of ratings values at different temperature increments (5-degree F increments).
  3. Utilities will need to update systems and processes – they have three years to become compliant with the new ruling (7/12/2025).

Since 2008, we at DNV have helped our electric utility customers with FAC-008 through Cascade Facility Ratings software solution. When FERC Order 881 hit, naturally, our existing customer base asked, "can Cascade Facility Ratings meet the needs of 881?"  

The answer was easy "Yes!”. We didn't have to make any programmatic changes to our Cascade Facility Ratings solution because, our solution is extensively configurable (and re-configurable) to support the new 881 requirements. Specifically, Cascade Facility Ratings allows the utility to design the base structure and hierarchy of the electric transmission assets and calculate ratings at different temperature and time intervals for every asset.

It may come as a surprise to learn that with the flexibility allowed within the FAC-008 standard, it’s not uncommon for electric utilities to develop an in-house solution for tracking their equipment ratings. When these electric utilities are then faced with updating bespoke solutions to support new requirements, they discover limitations with configurability to accommodate changes.  However, once utilities see the vast configurability available within Cascade Facility Ratings, they realize there isn’t a need to re-invent existing business processes to support statutory changes.

As mentioned previously, utilities have about three years to be compliant with Order 881. While three years may seem like plenty of time, there are a lot of provisions that the utility must make to be compliant such as:

  • Ensuring ambient adjusted rating values are accurately calculated for all equipment.
  • Implementing supporting software solutions to manage ratings.
  • Act on any additional directions issued from their Regional Transmission Operator (RTO).

From rural overhead transmission lines spanning hundreds of miles to pockets of large renewable generating stations interconnected to the transmission grid to vastly complex underground transmission networks constructed with multi-mode cooling loops, Cascade Facility Ratings gives utilities the flexibility, manageability, and traceability for efficient facility ratings management.

Allen Beaudette, Senior Consultant

5/10/2022 1:18:06 PM

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