December 03, 2019
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CMP’s parent company fined $450,000 for reliability violations

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
A helicopter pulls a "straw line" across the Penobscot River as crews install transmission lines to span between towers in Bucksport and Winterport in this August 2012 file photo.

The parent company of Central Maine Power has agreed to pay a $450,000 fine in connection with violating standards meant to ensure the reliability of the electric grid.

Avangrid admitted to six violations dating back to 2017 that occurred at three of its subsidiaries — New York State Electric and Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, and Central Maine Power — and agreed to pay the fine as well as take other actions to ensure reliability of its transmission systems, according to a notice of penalty from the North American Electric Reliability Corp.

The notice, filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 26, 2019, details the settlement between Avangrid and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council, a body charged with monitoring the reliability of the northeastern electric systems under an agreement with the North American Electric Reliability Corp. The corporation is overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and charged with ensuring the reliability of the electric grid in the continental United States, Canada and northern Baja California in Mexico.

The violations occurred on Nov. 27, 2017, at the New York utilities and on Jan. 11, 2019, at Central Maine Power, according to the filing. Avangrid reported all the violations.

The utilities are required to conduct routine assessments of their transmission systems at least every 30 minutes to detect problems that could lead to power outages, but the three utilities experienced outages that led to long gaps in their monitoring, according to the filing.

At the New York utilities in November 2017, a server failure affecting their system that runs assessments of their transmission networks went unnoticed for six hours. It took the utilities 14 hours to report the outage to the regional grid operator, New York ISO, and they went more than nine hours without conducting a real-time assessment.

CMP experienced a similar incident, though it was resolved more quickly than at the New York utilities. In January, a data entry error caused the utility’s energy management system monitoring and assessment capabilities to fail. That failure caused CMP to go more than an hour without conducting a real-time assessment of its transmission system, according to the filing. CMP also failed to notify the regional grid operator, ISO-New England, as required.

“The cause of this violation was lack of detective controls to identify a failure of the monitoring and assessment capabilities to operate, and a lack of effective management oversight including training,” the notice said of the New York violations. The violations at Central Maine Power were attributed to a “lack of effective management oversight, including insufficient training.”

While the lack of monitoring posed a moderate risk to reliability, no harm resulted during these incidents, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp.

The filing states that Avangrid completed mitigation activities related to these incidents by June 11, 2019.

 



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