Everything You Need to Know About NERC

Everything You Need to Know About NERC

Joshua D. Aldridge, NCSO

Joshua D. Aldridge, NCSO

Technical Training Specialist | NERC/Electrical Maintenance

The North American Electrical Reliability Corporation (NERC) is the sole Electrical Reliability Organization (ERO) in North America. This organization was established to develop and enforce reliable operating standards for the interconnected Functional Entities operating within the four major interconnections (East, West, ERCOT, Hydro-Quebec).

The term “Functional Entity” refers to a company that meets specific criteria and carries out specific functions as established by the NERC Reliability Functional Model. This includes but not limited to: Balancing Authorities, Generator Unit Owners and Operators, Electrical Distribution Service Providers, Electrical Transmission Owners, Operators, and Service Providers, and a variety of other companies linked to the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power.   

Within these companies are employees who are required to hold a NERC System Operator Certification. To maintain this certification, these individuals are required to complete Continuing Education Hours (CEH) or risk losing their certification, and, ultimately, their jobs.

Currently, there are four NERC certifications. While the CEH requirements may differ for each of these certifications, the content domains are largely similar, as these entities operate better when they understand one another’s function within a Bulk Electrical System (BES).

In many cases, these employees may work for entities who do not have a dedicated training department or may not be filling a “Real-Time Power Systems Operations” role, and in these situations, training for this employee population is often deprioritized.

In either case, HSI’s Industrial Skills training offers the right training options at every level of workforce development. What we offer every client—no matter the size—is high-quality, affordable Continuing Education content that can be delivered in a variety of formats intended to minimize disruption of Real-Time Power System Operations.

Here are some frequently asked questions from our customers…

FAQ’s:

Q1. How many CEH’s do you offer currently offer?

As of March 2nd, 2020, our catalog contains a total of 84 CEH’s. Most of these courses meet EOP criteria meaning they can be taken twice in a calendar year. Our Subject Matter Expert’s (SME) add CEH content regularly, so our library is growing steadily. 

Q2. How are these CEH’s administered?

Our current approved library is delivered online, which allows us to offer our clients the ability to meet requirements and improve knowledge with minimal disruption to operational tempo.

Q3. Do you offer Instructor-Led Training (ILT) software for CEH’s?

Yes, we have the capability and content available to deliver ILT courses anywhere, any time. Our ILT courses are highly customizable based on client needs. Some of the delivery methods we employ for ILT courses include:

  • Current Event and Hot Operating Topic Webinars
  • System Restoration Seminars
  • Operator Training Seminars
  • Customized ILT content delivered on the client site

Q4. Do you offer simulation hours?

Yes, we currently have online simulation hours for a multitude of topics including three-part communication, Active and Reactive Voltage control, etc. Additionally, we have multiple simulations currently in process for topics including power system restoration, remedial action schemes, transmission switching, distribution switching, and generation dispatch.

Q5. Do you offer training to meet the requirements of NERC Standard PER-006-1?

Yes, we offer an extensive System Protection library. For this standard, in particular, we have upgraded our Generator Protection (350-10) lesson to address the impact of Remedial Action Schemes (RAS) on generation units, and how the RAS differs from the Special Protection System (SPS). Additionally, we are developing a simulation to cover this topic in greater detail and provide learners a more engaging experience.

Q6. How are online CEH’s reported NERC?

We report all CEH’s earned from our courses directly to NERC by capturing the operator license #. This offers additional savings of both money and time, as companies do not have to deal with submitting and maintaining ILA’s or worry about submitting CEH’s for processing. We report CEH completion twice a week, and hours are generally awarded to the learner's account within 24 hours.

Q7. Do you offer any content for preparing employees for the NERC System Operator exam?

Yes, our 387 series addresses the operating topics and standards that are common to each of the four NERC System Operator certifications. There are also additional courses in the 375, 376, and 377 series that go into greater detail about specific areas of Power System Operations. Because the NERC exam is currently undergoing a complete revision, we chose to focus on enabling understanding of the content domains rather than mastering a practice test. Each of the courses contains a test on the content at the end, which also focuses on knowledge application rather than generic recollection.

Q8. How many times can an employee take one course for CEH’s in a single calendar year?

We offer multiple courses that meet NERC EOP content requirements; these courses may be taken twice in a single calendar year.