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High-voltage transformer fire barriers

NERC Authority[edit]

As part of the fallout of the Northeast Blackout of 2003, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to designate a national Electric Reliability Organization (ERO). On July 20, 2006, FERC issued an order certifying NERC as the ERO for the United States. Prior to being the National ERO, NERC’s guidelines for power system operation and accreditation were referred to as Policies, for which compliance was strongly encouraged yet ultimately voluntary.

NERC has worked with all stakeholders over the past several years to revise its Policies into Standards, and now has authority to enforce those standards on power system entities operating in the United States, as well as several provinces in Canada, by way of significant financial penalties for noncompliance.[citation needed]

In September 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and NERC opened a joint investigation into a “winter load event” earlier in January that stressed the electrical grids in the Midwest. On January 17, Midwest and U.S. south central grid operators ordered emergency appeals for electricity conservation. This was due to high power demand caused by cold weather.[5]