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Reliability Risk Management

Originally formed as a voluntary organization in 1968 by the electricity industry and called the National Electric Reliability Council, the name was changed to include “North American” in place of “National” in 1981 in recognition of Canada’s participation and the broader scope of NERC’s footprint. The name was changed from “Council” to “Corporation” in 2007.

In 2000, NERC established the Electricity Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which provides industry with timely responses and alerts on cyber and physical security threats that have the potential to impact the bulk power system. The ES-ISAC, which changed its name in 2015 to Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center, shares timely information with industry through its secure web portal.

In August, 2003, North America experienced its worst blackout to date, as 50 million people lost power in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada. A United States–Canada Power System Outage Task Force was formed to investigate the causes of the blackout and to make recommendations to prevent future blackouts.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 called for the creation of an Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) to develop and enforce compliance with mandatory reliability standards in the United States. This non-governmental, “self-regulatory organization” was created in recognition of the interconnected and international nature of the bulk power grid.

In April 2006, NERC applied for and was granted the designation of the ERO by FERC in July 2006. NERC also filed the first set of mandatory Reliability Standards with FERC, as well as filing the same information with the Canadian provincial authorities in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and with the National Energy Board of Canada.